Bilingual Education in Phnom Penh

French & Mandarin Bilingual Education

Bilingual Education provides students with the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills for speaking, reading, writing, listening and communicating in both English and the target language (either French or Mandarin). 

Our French Bilingual Program begins in Grade 1 and continues to Grade 5. Then continues from Grade 7 to Grade 10. 

Our Mandarin Bilingual Program begins in Senior Kindergarten and continues to Grade 5. Then begins again in Grade 7 to Grade 10. 

French Bilingual Program
CIS Mandarin Writing Program

Registration at No Additional Cost

  • Students entering kindergarten or Grade 1 can register in the bilingual program of choice. Previous experience with the target language is not required and parents do not need to know the language.
  • Students with previous French or Mandarin language experience may start the appropriate Bilingual program at other grade levels if they pass the CIS language assessment test. 

How the Bilingual Program Works

Students in Bilingual Programs follow the Alberta Programs of Study as follows:

  • From SK to grade 9, an approximate 60/40 split in instructional time between English and the target language allows students to build fluency in both languages. Children learn to understand and respond appropriately in either Mandarin or French in a range of everyday situations.
  • Students who wish to pursue an internationally recognized DELF (French) or HSK (Mandarin) certificate will be provided with this option once their teacher indicates that they have reached a high enough level of proficiency.
  • Incoming parents will be invited to a Bilingual Program information session in the spring to learn more about their child’s program content. 
Canadian International School Bilingual Program

Benefits of Bilingual Education


With a strong emphasis on language learning, we are  proud to offer French (since August 2015) and Mandarin (since August 2019) Bilingual Programs.  

Students in the bilingual program have the advantage of following the Canadian curriculum while improving their language skills in French or Mandarin. This represents over 80 minutes per day of instruction, or about 40% of instruction time, which is why our students improve their language skills very quickly.
Our French Bilingual Program was awarded the LabelFrancÉducation seal by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The goal of a language option program is to expose students to the language and the culture. Language options provide 200 minutes of instruction per week, allowing students to gain exposure to the target language. 


Bilingual programs provide more than 400 minutes of instruction per week in content areas. The greater exposure to the language and the more in depth instruction allows students to gain a greater degree of fluency more quickly. 

Our bilingual programs are designed for students whose first language is not the target language, so you don't need any special skills. Your child's teacher is highly trained to teach the target language using research-informed strategies. 


Language skills are integrated and transferable. For that reason, talk, listen, read and write with your child in your home language and these will set a strong foundation for acquiring French or Mandarin in school. 

  1. Help your child broaden their vocabulary in their first language.
  2. Have your child read to you in the target language and have them tell you what it means.
  3. To improve listening comprehension skills, have your child record themselves reading something and then listen to it.

No. Our bilingual programs provide the same quality of education and the same curriculum for students at no additional cost.

Along with our Bilingual Programs, French and Mandarin Language courses are offered to all students who wish to learn French or Mandarin from the age of 3 years old and up.

These language courses prepare students effectively for the Bilingual Program (if they choose to enroll). With this option, students learn in French or Mandarin for over 3 hours a week.

Our French students partner with French students from the school École Française Internationale (EFI). This allows students to practice their French frequently, learn more about the French culture, and allows us to organize common inter-school learning times.

Every year, we celebrate the language options at CIS through various events bringing together our school community. Our language assembly, prepared by our students, is an opportunity for them to share their interest in these programs with the entire CIS community.

Our school library has an impressive selection of books in French and Mandarin; we believe in the importance of expanding our library each year. At CIS we learn in different languages and read them too!

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