French Immersion FAQs
What are the goals of French Immersion?
French Immersion is designed for children to learn to speak, read, write and study in French. There are no entrance requirements and the program is open to everyone. Students typically begin French Immersion in kindergarten.
What are some advantages of learning a second language?
There are many benefits to speaking a second language including positive effects on the brain and learning, more job prospects, the ability to travel to other countries and speak the language, experiencing a new culture and gaining a better understanding of the world. In the 21st century of a knowledge-based society, being bilingual is “an invaluable added strength in life.”
Why should I choose French Immersion for my child?
French Immersion provides your child the opportunity to:
- achieve the same learning outcomes as those of the English program
- learn a second language at no cost to academic achievement
- develop enhanced academic, personal, social and career skills
- develop creative, analytical and critical thinking skills
- navigate between cultures and languages
- learn more about the world and become a global citizen
Is French Immersion appropriate for every child?
French Immersion can be beneficial for any child who can learn to speak one language. Children with specific speech, hearing or other difficulties may experience challenges, but we expect that every child can benefit from the French Immersion program.
Do you offer help for struggling learners?
French Immersion schools have bilingual support teachers who help children with academic or behavioural learning challenges. Research and experience show that students with a variety of challenges will do as well academically as they would in an English language program, so long as they receive support and assistance. We understand that children learn at different rates and in different ways regardless of their program.
If kindergarten is “100% French” do the children have to speak French all the time?
After an initial transition period, the teacher speaks French most of the time and the students speak English. Once they learn the sounds and some words and phrases, most children start imitating their teacher and speak simple French. We don’t expect that they will start speaking French without going through the development stages similar to those of learning their home language.
How do children handle learning two languages at the same time? Won’t they be confused?
Most children who begin French Immersion in kindergarten already know and speak their first language very well. They already have a fairly wide vocabulary and understand many grammatical concepts, and learning French does not compete with their use of their first language.
Will my child succeed in French Immersion?
All children learn at different rates and in their own individual way. Most children will learn as well in French Immersion as they would in the English program.
What about Mathematics and Science courses? Should they be taken in English, especially in high school?
Throughout the first eight or nine years of the French Immersion program, Mathematics and Science are taught in French, contributing to students’ overall language development. Research and our experience indicate there is no reason to take Math and Science in English in high school. Studying Math and Science in French in high school and in English in University has not been an issue for our graduates.
How will my child get to school?
If French Immersion is not offered in your neighbourhood school, free busing is provided for children from kindergarten to grade 6 who live more than 1.6 km away from their designated school. Pembina Trails is responsible for providing this service.
How can I help my children with homework if I don't speak French?
Most parents of French Immersion students do not speak French, so most of the help at home will be given in your first language. The language of communication between your home and the school is English.