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French Immersion Program

We currently offer the French Immersion program for kindergarten to grade 5. 

Early French Immersion GPE pamphlet .pdf

Frequently Asked Questions:

How is French Immersion Funded?
The federal government pays a portion of the costs incurred in French Immersion programs, the Ministry of Education pays the majority of the cost.  Once a class is established, the cost per pupil is similar to that in the regular English program.

Who Teaches the Program?
In School District 23, French Immersion teachers must be fluently bilingual (French and English) and possess a current BC Teacher's Certificate.  Learning Assistance is available to pupils who are experiencing difficulties in the classroom.

What about my child's achievement?
French:  In this program, pupils achieve a high level of proficiency in French comprehension, speaking, reading and writing.  By the end of elementary school, French Immersion pupils develop a functional level of fluency so they can communicate in the French language.

English:  The English language arts component is not introduced until the last year of primary schooling (grade 3).  By this time, pupils have learned how to read in French.  The decoding skills required for reading in French are usually quickly transferred and applied to the English component of the program.  Although there are some initial lags in English language development, namely in punctuation, capitalization and spelling, no long term deficits in English language development have been noted.

How Can I Help My Child?
This is a common question asked by parents who are English-speaking.  Parents are encouraged to listen to their child read out loud in French.  An older sibling or friend who speaks French can also read to your child.  Sentence structures are similar in English and French, so parents can also read to their child in English.  Lastly, French Immersion teachers are willing to work closely with parents to keep them aware of their child's progress.

Why learn an additional language?

Knowing an additional language can:

    • Increase your child's personal pleasures such as the enjoyment of literature, art, music, theatre, travel, and personal relationships
    • Increase your child's understanding of and respect for other peoples and other cultures
    • Help your child to understand more about himself, his country, and his fellow Canadians
    • Give your child access to a larger pool of information and to more educational and career opportunities
    • Give your child a competitive edge in the job market anywhere in Canada and in many other countries.

The process of learning an additional language can also:

    • Develop your child's listening and learning skills as well as the self-discipline that are useful throughout life
    • Increase cognitive abilities, creating a more flexible thinker
    • Enhance knowledge of the first language and improve communication
    • Make learning a new language much easier.

How quickly do the children learn to speak French?

Comprehension of spoken French develops first.  The ability to speak develops more slowly.  In the Early French Immersion program, students start to communicate spontaneously in French by Grade 1.  In Late French Immersion, students are expected to speak with some fluency by the end of the first year of the program (Grade 6).

What percentage of classroom instruction is actually in French?

As students progress through the French Immersion Program and develop a strong command of the French language, the percentage of instruction decreases.  This allows for formal instruction of English Language Arts and flexibility in course selection at the secondary level, while ensuring the maintenance of a high level of proficiency in French. 

Will my child's level of achievement be adversely affected if instruction is in the French language?

Most children who receive their education in French are able to achieve the same levels of competency in all core subjects as those children who have had all their instruction in English.