Lessons only taught in French at elementary school in Pinellas County

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From math to music, all of the classes at a school in Pinellas County are taught in French.

It's the only one of its kind in the Bay Area. Teachers, students, and parents say the lessons they learn go well beyond success in the classroom.

Teacher Claire Bergera starts every day by taking attendance. She follows with the day's date and the weather.

The students nod right along.

"He came home yesterday," said parent Erin Kennedy, "and told me I was the most beautiful woman in the world, in French."

At the French American School of Tampa  Bay, everything is in French, from dropoff to pickup, from ages 3 to 7.

"The school system focuses on acquiring a second language in high school, when it is too late," said founder and head-of-school Willy LeBhian.

LeBhian runs a similar school of about 80 students in Maine. 

He'd been to the Bay Area on vacation and noticed it would be the only school between Miami and Atlanta that is approved by the French Ministry of Education. 

It's one of 50 others in the United States. There are about 500 in the world.

"In our environment, kids are exposed to other cultures," said LeBhian. "They have an open eye to the world."

The kids learn in French until second grade. Then, English teachers come in and prepare the students for all aspects of American life. 

Teachers believe learning in both languages gives them skills they can't learn in other ways.

"They look at problems in different ways, they don't look at the world in black and white," said LeBhian. "Let's find middle ground, lets put ourselves in someone else's shoes."

The school has 11 kids now and only goes up to second grade. 

They plan to have 40 by next year. The age of the students will also increase by a year as the students get older. Tuition is $13,000. 

Erin Kennedy is from south St. Pete and two of her kids attend the school. She studied French in college but wanted more for her kids.

"I think that kids that are more aware and more linguistically-abled will be on the forefront," she said.

They hope to eventually have 100 students. 

Peter's Moore's child is 7.

"She woke up one day and she told me she is dreaming in French," Moore told FOX 13 News.