What are the benefits of a double dogwood?

French Immersion is a highly successful made-in-Canada educational program that allows non-Francophones the opportunity to learn and study in French. The program began over 30 years ago at the demand of parents and has continued to garner support since. The 2011-2012 school year marked French Immersion’s thirteenth consecutive year of enrollment growth in BC. Currently, over 275,000 students are enrolled in French second language programs; with over 44,800 students, French Immersion accounts for 7.7% of the total student population in BC.

French Immersion is designed to produce functionally bilingual students. To achieve the goals of this program, students should continue in French Immersion through Grade 12. Upon graduation, students will have acquired sufficient language skills to be able to pursue post-secondary studies or work in either official language. The skills students learn in the elementary years are the building blocks for the development of more sophisticated thinking and communicative skills in French.

Learning a second language is an intellectual exercise and a challenge which further develops an individual’s cognitive abilities. Learning French is a discipline, requiring a comprehension of culture and expression as well as the many intricacies of a language. In learning French, students develop a lifelong ability to communicate with a broader scope of people as well as gain a more global view of Canada and the world. Learning both official languages allows for not only communication, but understanding in an ever-shrinking world community. Knowledge of a second language also provides a competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up a larger pool of information, additional job opportunities and a wider networking potential.

According to a 2007 CROP poll prepared for CBC Radio-Canada, 88 per cent of Canadians believe that people who speak more than one language are better equipped to succeed in today’s global economy, and two thirds of the participants surveyed indicate that knowing Canada’s two official languages is a key factor in defining what it is to be a Canadian.

A 2003 Environics poll confirmed that Canadians consider learning both our official languages to be important and valuable. For example, 87% of English speaking Canadians surveyed believe that the ability to speak more than one language is very important in this period of growing international trade. Among young Canadians (aged 12-30), 66% believe that all high-school graduates should have a working knowledge of both English and French.

No matter what students might do in their lives, the modern economy forces virtually everyone to become involved in networks. By learning French, young people are tapping into a worldwide network of immense proportions. They are multiplying their chances to succeed in ways we cannot even imagine today.

  • La Francophonie is the French equivalent of the British Commonwealth of nations. It is a network of 56 states and governments, of which 25 countries have French as an official language, and over 300 million French-speaking people worldwide. It is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. French is the second language most frequently known by Europeans in additional to their mother tongue. Nearly one-fifth of non-Francophone Europeans say they know French.

  • French and English are the languages of world diplomacy. French is an official working language of the United Nations, the International Red Cross, the International Olympic Committee, the European Economic Community, NATO, and many other organizations.

  • French is the language of commerce in many places. It gives students a competitive edge in the job market anywhere in Canada and in many other countries. According to Statistics Canada, Canadians who speak both official languages earn more, on average, than those who speak only English or only French.

  • French is t

What about learning difficulties?

Having difficulties in French Immersion … What to do?

An increasing amount of research is being conducted on students with learning challenges in French Immersion. The most current Canadian Parents for French publications on academically challenged students can be found here:

CPF National Publication: Academically Challenged Students and French Second Language Programs

BC & Yukon Publication: Learning Support Services for FSL Students with Learning Disabilities

Should a child ever be transferred out of French Immersion?

Except in unusual circumstances, transferring a child out of immersion is generally not advisable. Performing below grade level or grade average, for example, is not a valid reason for transferring your child. In all likelihood the child would not be performing much better if he or she were in an English stream program.

Transferring a child out of French immersion should be a decision that is made first of all by parents, usually in consultation with the immersion staff. Especially at the elementary level, guidance may be provided by a school-based team generally made up of the French immersion teacher, the English teacher,
the counsellor and the learning assistance teacher.

Please remember that in the English stream, where there is no alternative, the child with learning difficulties must stay in his/her program. The existence of this option of transferring the child out of immersion sometimes encourages a parent to transfer the child too hastily. Apart from some extreme cases, children with learning difficulties should not be denied the right and privilege of becoming bilingual and also should be able to draw satisfaction and pride from understanding and speaking two world languages.

Is there learning assistance in French immersion?
The level of learning assistance, whether in English-stream or French immersion programs, varies from school district to school district and sometimes from school to school. Depending on the available resources, children who are in need of learning assistance in French immersion should normally receive the same level of help as that available in the English stream.

Teachers should work in co-operation with the learning assistance teacher to provide help based as much as possible on a child's particular learning style. Parents are encouraged to participate in the process if it will help the child.

By joining Canadian Parents for French you will receive Provincial/National newsletters, be kept aware of and involved in your child's activities and many more resources are available to you!

How can I help my child?

Homework in French....but I don't speak French!

What can I do to help my child with homework?
Many parents either have a limited background in French or do not speak the language at all. If this is the case, please don't feel alarmed. The most important factor is your encouragement and the positive support you are able to give your child. You should make homework a top priority at home; assignments should take no more than 30 minutes to complete each night at the elementary level, not including daily reading of 15 minutes each night. You should provide necessary supplies and a quiet homework environment, set aside a time everyday when homework should be done. Provide praise and support and contact your French Immersion teacher if you notice a problem. You and your child's teacher must work together as a team that is committed to your child's progress. The secret to building and maintaining that relationship is through communication. Remember if a child is having problems in the French Program they would likely be having the same problems in the English Program. Find out what these problems are and address them immediately!

French Immersion parents can help with homework, too. The difference in language can be daunting, but the purpose is still the same...the attitude of the child to homework is influenced by the parents. If homework is seen as an arduous task, a punishment for not finishing in class, it will become a negative
experience. You, as parents, should encourage a positive attitude towards homework; if you are positive they will more than likely follow your lead and enjoy the experience of a second language, even at difficult times.

What can parents do:

1. You can start by establishing a good rapport with your child's immersion teacher in a spirit of collaboration and support. Discuss with the teacher and the child the reason for homework - most teachers will have an information session at the beginning of the year. Ask what to expect in homework and how much.

2. Ensure your child has a quiet, well lit place to work, away from the TV and distractions.

3. Treat homework as your child's responsibility, with yourself as a helper, if needed. Try to encourage your child to use the dictionary - an excellent resource to have.

4. At home, your child should be free to read for pleasure in French or in English and encouraged to talk about his/her experiences at school. Showing interest in what your child is doing at school and providing encouragement and support is of the utmost importance.

5. For example, you can help by sitting with your child and encouraging him/her to complete their work or studying their lessons. This will help your child in the short and long run. It is particularly easy to work with your child in math, social studies, science or art because they can be done in English at home.

6. Discuss with your child, the rules of studying, lay down and STICK to the rules and consequences for poorly done or undone homework. Know the teachers rules and try to reinforce them.

7. Set a regular period for homework to be completed -reinforce the fact that if the homework is completed first the rest of the day/evening is theirs.

8. Be interested in the work your child has accomplished...notebooks, worksheets, especially quizzes and tests...develop a system for remembering assignments and test dates so you can both plan for them.

 

What can I do to help my child in Math?

1. Add to your child's mathematical vocabulary by using everyday situations to demonstrate the meaning of such words as "bigger than," "square," etc.

2. Show interest in your child's work instead of telling him or her about the negative feelings you might have had about mathematics when you were in school.

3. Multiply the words of encouragement spoken to your child so that he or she will have a positive attitude towards mathematics.

4. Accept

What French programs are available in my community?

If you have any changes to update for the information below, please contact us.

French Programs by Chapter

Why organize into a CPF Chapter?

A Chapter is a local watchdog, in effect, the voice for parents in the school district. The provincial organization can’t talk to the school board on your behalf; however, we can support members in the district who care enough about quality French Second Language education to approach the school trustees on issues that affect their children.

CPF chapters ...

  • bring members together to work to improve opportunities for children to learn French, both inside and outside of the classroom

  • organize extracurricular activities like video nights, family fun nights, French field trips to theatre and museums

  • receive annual grants from CPF to provide services to their members

  • network with other Chapters to share information about advocacy and fundraising initiatives

  • are entitled to send delegates to all workshops organized by CPF-BC & Yukon

  • are supported by advice and training provided by the provincial and national organization for local projects and activities


By joining Canadian Parents for French, you will receive Provincial/National newsletters, be kept aware of and involved in your child's activities and have a multitude of resources available to you!

What Is Late French Immersion?

What is French Immersion?

French Immersion is a Canadian made educational program in which a child whose first language is not French - studies in French. French Immersion began 30 years ago in response to parental demand; research shows that it is the most effective way for a child to become functionally bilingual. In BC Early Immersion starts in Kindergarten or grade 1. Late Immersion usually starts in grade 6.

Ideally, in French Immersion programs all activities and learning during elementary grades, except for English arts, are in French. Canada's French Immersion programs have attracted positive attention from many countries around the globe. For the last decade some countries, particularly in Europe and the United States, have been offering immersion programs often patterned on the Canadian model. The goal of the French immersion program is to graduate students who are functionally bilingual. This means graduates are able to communicate effectively in French as well as in English.

Consider these research findings: students whose parents have positive attitudes to French tend to do better in French. They also develop a more positive attitude toward French and Francophones. You can play an active role in your child's success in French Immersion, even if you don't speak French....support and encouragement are biggest factors.

 

Is French Immersion for all children?
French Immersion has sometimes been criticized as an “elitist” program. In fact, with more than 32,000 students enrolled across 47 School Districts in BC and the Yukon and hundreds of thousands across Canada, French Immersion has proved itself to be a model program of choice in public education. It is open to all, reflective of the community and gives access to a remarkable program, regardless of parent income or social status.

Studies have shown that Immersion programs are suitable for almost any child. Of course, children with above average academic abilities generally have an advantage in most forms of learning - particularly, in the case of Immersion programs, in the development of reading and writing skills. High academic skills,however, are not related to performance in French speaking skills.

Children with learning difficulties will experience some problems in trying to cope with the French Immersion curriculum -- the same problems they would likely encounter in the English-stream program.Learning assistance should be provided to them, whether in Immersion or the English program. These children should not be denied the satisfaction, pride and personal growth that comes with being bilingual.

 

Why should I choose French Immersion for my child?
One good reason is that it opens more doors for your children and for their future well-being. Graduates of a full Immersion Program can expect increased appreciation of other languages and cultures, enhanced career potential, a greater facility for learning other languages as well as a more global view of Canada and the world.

 

Is French Immersion for everyone?
Immersion is suitable for children of all academic abilities. French Immersion may present an additional challenge to your child but it is not to be confused with enrichment. It is a program developed for the specific purpose of giving Anglophone school children the opportunity to become bilingual, while still maintaining their English skills. The Immersion method was created for children whose classroom language is not their first language but they study in French. If you have any specific concerns, check them out before you enroll your child in French Immersion. Call the Ministry/Department of Education, CPF or talk to a kindergarten or Grade 1 French Immersion teacher.

 

Will my child learn the same things as peers in the English Program?
The French Immersion and English curricula are the same as specified by the Ministry/Department of Educatio

What is Early French Immersion?

The Early French Immersion program provides students with an education equivalent to that which is available in the English language program, while providing students with the opportunity to acquire a high level of proficiency in French. Students normally enter Early Immersion in Kindergarten (and occasionally in Grade 1) and, upon graduation from the program in Grade 12, should be able to participate easily in conversations in French, take post-secondary courses with French as the language of instruction and/or accept employment with French as the language of the work place.

Why learn French?

So, why learn French, you ask?

A statement most parents make ......first of all, it's an intellectual exercise for the brain, a challenge, it's like a crossword puzzle and it stimulates your mind...we are given certain capacities and we were given those capacities to use! Learning French is also a discipline, you learn grammar, structure, vocabulary and you also learn humor and so much more about another culture!

Being bilingual will be a definite assist when seeking employment, it helps you in international travel, it helps you undertake more responsibilities, and it builds confidence. Today's students have been, either in reality or virtually, around the world, and languages, including French, are not going to disappear.

Learning French helps you to understand other people and their culture. The word "to eat" in Chinese really means "to eat rice", in English we say, "to break bread"....a view into a whole different culture, geography and economy.

Learning French gives you the ability to discover new ideas and new thoughts, to look at things in a different perspective. Language is about discovering a new world, and that new world will certainly be one where ideas, knowledge and communication will be the currency. Learning another language is like giving a gold deposit to your child, but without the risk. Knowledge does make people happy, there's a joy to learning, the great "eureka!" feeling of understanding, the happiness of discovery, the satisfaction of knowing that one has done one's best for oneself and society, no one has ever regretted the opportunity to learn another language.....

Your child(ren) have everything to gain and nothing to lose!


What are the benefits of knowing a second language?
In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with more people, children may derive other benefits from early language instruction, including improved overall school performance and superior problem-solving skills. Knowing a second language ultimately provides a competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up additional job opportunities.

Students of foreign languages score statistically higher on standardized tests conducted in English. In its 1992 report, College Bound Seniors: The 1992 Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, the College Entrance Examination Board reported that students who averaged 4 or more years of foreign language study scored higher on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) than those who had studied 4 or more years in any other subject area. In addition, the average mathematics score for individuals who had taken 4 or more years of foreign language study was identical to the average score
of those who had studied 4 years of mathematics. These findings are consistent with College Board profiles for previous years.

Students of foreign languages have access to a greater number of career possibilities and develop a deeper understanding of their own and other cultures. Some evidence also suggests that children who receive second language instruction are more creative and better at solving complex problems. The benefits to society are many. Canadians fluent in other languages enhance our economic competitiveness abroad, improve global communication, and maintain our political and security interests.

  • increases your child's personal pleasures such as the enjoyment of literature, art, music, theatre, travel, and personal relationships;

  • increases your child's understanding of and respect for other peoples and other cultures;

  • gives your child access to a larger pool of information and to more educational and career opportunities.


What are the benefits of learning a second language?

  • develops your child's listening and learning skills as well as self-discipline

What is Core French?

In core French, the second language is taught in periods that vary in length from school to school. Provinces may recommend a basic core French structure, and school boards may also contribute to the shape of the program.

The aims of core French include:
• basic communication skills
• language knowledge
• an appreciation of French culture in Canada and beyond.

Core French typically begins in grade four or five. In New Brunswick and Quebec, it is introduced in grade one, and in kindergarten in the Northwest Territories. Other school boards may also choose to offer core French earlier than their provincial or territorial Ministries of Education recommended start.

The amount of French instruction in elementary schools often depends on teacher availability and qualifications. Most provinces and territories aim to provide about 600 hours of French instruction by the end of elementary or middle school. Core French is often an optional subject in high schools, and students may need at least some high school French to graduate.

Exciting innovations with more intensive forms of core French have produced positive results. You can learn more by referring to the studies by Lapkin, Hart & Harley (1998), and Netten & Germain (1999a, 1999b), in the reference list. Your school board or school may be interested!

As of the year 2000, 2 million elementary students and approximately 1 million secondary students are taking core French. This compares to about 317,000 students in French immersion. In fact, ninety percent of students learning French are in core programs.






1 How does core French differ from immersion?

There are two principal differences between core and immersion French programs: the kind of exposure to French, and the amount of it.

In immersion, instruction is mostly in French. Subject areas, like math, music, and science, are taught in French. The second language is the medium and not the object of instruction. Core French curriculum, on the other hand, concentrates on speaking, listening, reading, and writing in French. It teaches these language skills through themes designed to spark student interest. Immersion and core French teachers often use similar teaching techniques. The other difference between the programs is the duration and intensity of exposure to French. By the end of grade eight, the average early immersion student has had over 4000 hours of instruction in French. Late immersion students accumulate between 1200 and 2000 hours in French. A typical immersion student also gains between 1000 and 1500 hours in French high school courses. In comparison, a student who studies core French from grade four to grade twelve is exposed to a maximum of about 1100 hours of French instruction.






2 Has core French changed since I went to school?

A five-year research project recently examined how to make core French more effective by adapting and improving on immersion research and classroom practice. The final report advocated an approach that includes much more than grammar instruction.
Since the study’s publication in 1990, education authorities have allocated a great deal of time and money to implement the report’s recommendations. Consequently, core French now aims to expose students to more spoken French; core French curricula now require students to use their linguistic and cultural knowledge to communicate in real-life situations. Newly-creat

What are French Advisory Committees?

The role of the French Advisory Committee (FAC) is to advocate for excellence in district French programs. The committee should work together to ensure that schools have equitable access to the Federal French funding and use it in a fiscally prudent manner. As well, the committee should monitor enrolment numbers and analyze trends, and participate in forming policy and guidelines on French programs.

The committee should have representation from all partners. Meetings should provide teachers, administrators, parents, trustees, CPF, and where possible students an avenue to work closely together and be involved in district-wide decision-making impacting French programs. The FAC should extend an invitation to all interested parties to meet, including the following (* means ideal):


  • *Senior School Board staff member such as the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, or Director of Instruction responsible for FSL


  • Principal and Vice-Principal from each FI school in the district


  • *Teacher(s) from each FI school in the district, possibly resource coordinator and/or librarian


  • 1 or 2 parent representatives from each FI school in the district, possibly CPF members


  • *President of the local CPF chapter


  • a School Board Trustee


  • *District Language Coordinator/ French Facilitator if possible


  • DPAC representative


  • Student representatives


The FAC should meet as often as necessary to address issues and report to the Board once a year in time for budget decisions for the upcoming year. Meeting more often for special committees is suggested. Agenda items should be requested in advance and added to at the meeting if required. Each group should give a report on news items, funding, school activities and events, etc. There should be one person chairing meetings, ideally the District Language Coordinator or an administrator, preferably a Senior district staff member. Minutes along with actions items should be taken and sent out to all parties. The FAC should form working groups to address short term or implementation needs.

How's Your French Advisory Commitee Doing?
Already have an FAC? Excellent!! Try this checklist to see if yours makes the grade:

  • Our FAC has representation from parents, teachers, administrators and trustees.

  • Our school district website has all French Immersion schools listed in a special category and all schools are listed as "École _____ School.

  • Our school district website has a description of how French Immersion works and what outcomes can be expected.

  • We have no trouble recruiting new teachers to our district.

  • Our school district can easily provide anyone who asks with their federal French funding allocations for last year.

  • All French text books in our district are current and relevant.

  • In our district, all French Immersion students who choose to leave the program are required to complete an exit survey.

  • Our district hosts an information evening for parents of prospective new French Immersion students.

  • Our schools offer struggling French Immersion students learning assistance in French.

  • Our dual track schools hold assemblies in English and French.

  • Our district has a French Immersion policy that states what to do if a child in Grade 2 or higher wants to enter French Immersion.

  • Our French Immersion schools have interior and exterior French signage.

What membership benefits do members receive?

Number One Benefit:

Your membership gives CPF a stronger voice to lobby provincial, territorial and federal ministers, as well as school board administrators, for better access to quality French Second Language (FSL) education.

Other Benefits:
CPF - National Benefits

1. CPF National Newsletter
Packed with information on the most recent developments in French education, possible career prospects for multilingual individuals, ways to support children with learning challenges, postsecondary education funding opportunities, these newsletters are indispensable to parents of children enrolled in FSL programs. In this newsletter, you will also find announcements on upcoming educational and cultural events.

2. CPF National Website : www.cpf.ca
The national website is a portal into a world of resources and information, linking you to the latest news on events and policies that impact FSL education across the nation, as well as to countless resources and advocacy tools. Becoming a member gives you access to the national Resource Database and Research Library, containing rich information holdings on FSL education for home and school use. Also available to members is the annual report The State of French-Second-Language Education in Canada, which assesses how well FSL programs are functioning across Canada.

3. CPF – Learning Aids for parents
CPF produces and promotes a range of learning aids, parent tool kits, videos, posters, etc. Helping Your Child Become Bilingual: A Toolkit for CPF Members is a booklet containing nine informative sections - from questions and answers on the types of programs to how to support your children through their educational journey.

4. 10% off French books at Livres, Disques, etc.
CPF members are entitled to a 10% discount on French-language books, recordings and educational tools from Canada and around the world. Use the electronic catalogue to get quick access to hundreds of products for all age groups. Go to their website to take advantage of this offer.

5. 10% off at Oui for Kids
This on-line children's bookstore in New Brunswick, specializing in French-language material, is pleased to offer all CPF members a 10% discount on all products on their website.

6. 40% off 25 assorted books at Firefly Books
Firefly Books publishes and distributes hundreds of French language calendars and children’s books. CPF members are entitled to purchase their books on the following terms: 40% off a purchase of 25 assorted books, sent to a single mailing address. This deal excludes additional charges for shipping & GST. Contact: Parisa Michailidis, Special Markets Manager, T: 416.499.8412 x133, E: [email protected].

7. 10% off at National Car Rental
CPF members save up to 10% on published daily car rental rates with National Car Rental for business and personal rentals. When you go to the National Car website to download your coupon, quote Contract ID #3710544.

8. Up to 20% at Etraffic Solutions
Etraffic Solutions has partnered with the Canadian Parents for French to provide online FSL resources at special discounted member pricing. Receive 20% off the regular purchase price when you use the links and coupon codes found online. Along with providing homework help, Etraffic has created Let’s Discover, a multimedia package in French which contains e-books, audio tracks, animations, a glossary, and language-embedded games.

9. 15% off the Myosotis dictionary
The What is Intensive French?

Intensive French is defined as an enrichment of the core French program by the creation of a period of intensive exposure to French which enables students to receive three to four times the number of hours of instruction normally devoted to French. In the Newfoundland and Labrador context, this enrichment will normally occur at grade six.

Intensive French possesses three major characteristics based on empirical research studies which seek to determine the most effective ways of learning a second language: an intensive period of study, use of the target language as a means of communication and a focus on language learning rather than on the learning of subject matter in the second language.
-Definition of Intensive French by Joan Netton and Claude Germain

Research on Intensive French:
CASLT website
Links to a number of different papers on Intensive French.

Intensive French
Information about the Intensive French program in the Surrey School District #36

VSB Intensive French booklet

Why is it better for my child to learn a language in elementary school?

Studies have shown -- and experience has supported -- that children who learn a language before the onset of adolescence are much more likely to have native-like pronunciation. A number of experts attribute this proficiency to physiological changes that occur in the maturing brain as a child enters puberty. Of course, as with any subject, the more years a child can devote to learning a language, the more competent he or she will become. In any case, introducing children to alternative ways of expressing themselves and to different cultures generally broadens their outlook and gives them the opportunity to communicate with many more people.

What is the value of knowing French?

French is very valuable because, it:

• helps your child to understand more about himself, his country, and his fellow Canadians;

• gives your child a competitive edge in the job market anywhere in Canada and in many other countries.

• "Nowadays, bilingualism is increasingly viewed as a certified asset, one that provides mobility and insight. According to Karl Moore, a management specialist at McGill University, there is a disproportionate number of Canadians running large international organizations the world over. The fact that they come from a smaller, and bilingual, country makes them better suited than, say, Americans or Britons to understand and handle the various cultural sensitivities at play in the global economy." - Benoit Aubin, "Speaking in Tongues," Macleans.ca, December 9, 2002

• Throughout the past five years, French has come in handy for me at the most surprising times. I feel a thrill whenever I can conquer a situation due to this and I feel proud to come from a country that recognizes it as an official language. I
want to encourage these programs to continue so that we can continue to ignore international language boundaries. - Sheena Tieffel, Merrit, B.C.

Why is French considered a world language?

• Estimates of the number of persons speaking French around the world range from 100,000,000 to 250,000,000.
• 25 countries have French as one of their official languages.
• French and English are the languages of world diplomacy. French is an official working language of the United Nations, the International Red Cross, the International Olympic Committee, the European Economic Community, and the International Labour Bureau.
• French is the second more frequently known language by Europeans in addition to their mother tongue. Nearly 1/5 of non-Francophone Europeans say they know French.
• French is the second most frequently taught language in the world. It is the second most prevalent language on the internet.

Why is French the logical language for Canadians?

French is the national second language for many Canadians because it is so widely used and accessible throughout the country. It is the mother tongue of one Canadian in four. With French we have the advantage of texts, references and library books prepared for the Francophone market in this country; large numbers of French-speaking teachers; access to role models and activities in Francophone communities as well as access to the French media; and sufficient interest in the language to support viable programs throughout the country.

What are the benefits of knowing a second language?

In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with more people, children may derive other benefits from early language instruction, including improved overall school performance and superior problem-solving skills. Knowing a second language ultimately provides a competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up additional job opportunities. Students of foreign languages score statistically higher on standardized tests conducted in English. In its 1992 report, College Bound Seniors: The 1992 Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, the College Entrance Examination Board reported that students who averaged 4 or more years of foreign language study scored higher on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) than those who had studied 4 or more years in any other subject area. In addition, the average mathematics score for individuals who had taken 4 or more years of foreign language study was identical to the average score of those who had studied 4 years of mathematics. These findings are consistent with College Board profiles for previous years.
Students of foreign languages have access to a greater number of career possibilities and develop a deeper understanding of their own and other cultures. Some evidence also suggests that children who receive second language instruction are more creative and better at solving complex problems. The benefits to society are many. Canadians fluent in other languages enhance our economic competitiveness abroad, improve global communication, and maintain our political and security interests.

• increases your child's personal pleasures such as the enjoyment of literature, art, music, theatre, travel, and personal relationships;

• increases your child's understanding of and respect for other peoples and other cultures;

• gives your child access to a larger pool of information and to more educational and career
opportunities.

• What are the benefits of learning a second language?

• develops your child's listening and learning skills as well as self-discipline;

• increases cognitive abilities, creating a more flexible thinker;

• enhances his knowledge of and his ability to communicate in his first language;

• makes learning a third or fourth language much easier.

Is my child going to lose out in English or in subjects taught in French?

In most cases, learning another language enhances a child's English ability. Children can learn much about English by learning the structure of other languages. Common vocabulary also helps children learn the meaning of new words in English. Experimental studies have shown that no long-term delay in native English language development occurs in children participating in second language classes, even in full immersion programs. Research has shown that, throughout Canada, French immersion students perform at least as well in many aspects of English-language achievement as those who are enrolled in regular programs. Understandably, in the first two or three years (primary grades) of French immersion your child may show some lag in certain areas of English-language skills such as spelling, capitalization, etc. These lags are, however, temporary and usually disappear when English language arts are introduced. It is not uncommon to see immersion students reading English fluently even though no formal classroom English instruction has yet been introduced. This is due to the phenomenon of transfer of reading skills from French to English. Having the same alphabet makes this process of transfer much easier. Various studies have shown that immersion students perform as well as English-stream students in all school subjects such as math, science, etc. When in doubt ... check it out!

Your encouragement and belief in the value of a second language will strengthen your child's learning experience. Ask the teacher and/or your CPF chapter to suggest some out-of-school French language activities that will be both fun for the family and add to the school program.

How available is French immersion?

Over 250 school boards and districts across Canada offer French Immersion programs. Check the CPF Immersion Registry at www.cpf.ca which will list the schools that have French Immersion programs in every Province and Territory.

When is English introduced?

This varies from province to province, but in BC for the Early French Immersion program, it begins by grade four, students are exposed to one period a day of English language arts. Within a year or two, they should be reading in both languages. Skills in one language can be transferred to benefit the development of the other. For the Late French Immersion program, students will have taken English language arts up to Grade 5. Late French Immersion students are re-introduced to English language arts again in Grade 7.

How good will my child's French be if they are enrolled in French Immersion?

The level of French will vary from one child to another in the same way as performance in mathematics, for example, will vary from child to child. Some students speak French making many mistakes while others might be taken for mother-tongue French speakers. The language skills of French immersion students are consistently superior to those of core French students (who study French for 20 to 50 minutes per day). In general, immersion students' French oral and reading comprehension skills (receptive skills) will be almost on par with those of native French speakers. Speaking and writing in the second language (productive skills) may not be as advanced as their comprehension skills.

We must remind ourselves that French for these children is, after all, their second language and that
English is the predominant language in their environment. To dwell too much and too critically on the
quality of the French spoken by immersion students is often a red herring because it ignores the fact that
immersion students not only communicate effectively in French but also learn the skills of
communication: selecting the right words with the right nuances, adapting communicative strategies to
get the message across, cracking the right joke without making a cultural or linguistic gaffe, and
establishing a positive environment by creating a friendly atmosphere with the native speaker.

It will take years of immersion schooling before your child will reach such a level of achievement and
comfort in a second language. As an example, imagine yourself being able to understand Chinese
spoken by a native speaker at a normal speed and that you are able to communicate, in a normal way,
albeit while making some mistakes, with that person. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

French immersion teachers and parents should constantly seek out opportunities for the children to use
their French with mother-tongue French speakers. The new technologies (Internet, video-conferencing,
multimedia materials, etc.) will help students to establish links with Francophone communities around
the world. These opportunities for interaction should help students to improve their sociolinguistic
skills.

Should I register my child in Early Immersion or Late Immersion?

It is estimated that about 80% of all French Immersion students are enrolled in early Immersion programs. The popularity of this program can be explained by many factors...

1. Studies have shown that it is easier and more "natural" for a child to learn another language at a
very early age. In Finland, for instance, a Swedish Immersion program is offered to children at
age three.

2. Early French Immersion teachers are very conscious of the fact that at first children do not
understand the language. The teachers provide clear explanations using various communication
strategies and by making experiential activities meaningful.

3. Research has shown the positive results of language immersion programs in Canada and other
countries.

While it is "natural" for children to learn French in early Immersion programs, it requires motivation to
work harder when immersion starts in later grade (6 or 7). Students in these grades will want their
opinion to count in the decision to enter French Immersion programs and that decision will be dependent
on their attitude towards the French culture.

Will my children learn the same things as their peers in the English Program?

The French Immersion curriculum is the same as the English one as specified by the Ministry/Department of Education. The only difference between the two programs is the language of instruction.

Is French Immersion for everyone, you ask?

Immersion is suitable for children of all academic abilities. French Immersion may present an additional challenge to your child but it is not to be confused with enrichment. It is a program developed for the specific purpose of giving Anglophone school children the opportunity to become bilingual, while still maintaining their English skills. The Immersion method was created for children whose classroom language is not their first language but they study in French. If you have any specific concerns, check them out before you enroll your child in French Immersion.....call the Ministry/Department of Education, CPF or talk to a kindergarten or grade 1 French Immersion teacher.

Why should I choose French Immersion for my children?

One good reason is that it opens more doors for your children and for their future well-being. Graduates of a full Immersion Program can expect increased appreciation of other languages and cultures, enhanced career potential, and a key to learning other languages as well as a more global view of Canada and the world.

Is French Immersion for all children?

French Immersion has sometimes been criticized as an “elitist” program. In fact, with more than 32,000 students enrolled across 47 School Districts in BC and the Yukon and hundreds of thousands across Canada, French Immersion has proved itself to be a model program of choice in public education: open to all, reflective of the community and giving access to a remarkable program to students regardless of parent income or social status.

In BC, Campbell River is home to the largest French Immersion program per capita in Canada. Quesnel has the fastest growing program. Today, French Immersion programs are strongest in resource communities where parents understand that children will need new skills to succeed in tomorrows world. Studies have shown that Immersion programs are suitable for almost any child. Of course, children with above average academic abilities generally have an advantage in most forms of learning, particularly, in the case of Immersion programs, in the development of reading and writing skills. High academic skills, however, is not related to performance in French speaking skills.

Children with learning difficulties will experience some problems in trying to cope with the French Immersion curriculum -- the same problems they would likely encounter in the English-stream program. Learning assistance should be provided to them, whether in Immersion or the English program. These children should not be denied the satisfaction, pride and personal growth that comes with being bilingual.