French Immersion is a highly successful approach to second language learning - an effective way for students to become functionally fluent in French while achieving all of the objectives of the regular school program. In Manitoba, the French Immersion Program has been recognized since 1995 as an official program by the Department of Education and Training. In accordance with the provisions of the Statutes of Manitoba – P250 of the Public Schools Act, children have an opportunity to learn both French and English in Manitoba. The French Immersion Program, designed for non-Francophones, aims to develop functionally bilingual students who are able to communicate in French and English in personal and professional situations. In Manitoba, the French Immersion Program is offered in one of two school environments:
- the single track model in which the entire student population is enrolled in the French Immersion program
- the dual track model in which both English and French Immersion programs coexist in the same school
In Pembina Trails, The French Immersion Program has one entry point:
- Early Immersion – kindergarten and/or grade 1 entry
Graduates from French Immersion receive essentially the same education as their peers in English language schools, with the added benefit of having a second language. Recent studies show that learning another language cannot only have a positive impact on your child’s first language; it actually enhances learning in all areas.
The French Immersion experience can lead them to the richness of bilingual and bicultural thinking. It is of little wonder; therefore, that French Immersion provides our youth an important “21st century asset” and to use the words of His Excellency, John Ralston Saul, it gives them “an invaluable added strength in life".
The French immersion approach is based on the premise young children learn a second language best when a “gentle approach” is used. They learn French in somewhat the same way they acquired their first language at home.
Parental involvement and encouragement are tremendously important to the academic success of all children. French Immersion students are no exception. A child's first language provides a sound base for the acquisition of a second language. Talk with your child about school. Show an interest in your child’s daily activities. Read together daily. Be positive about the program and the teacher.