Transportation is the parent's responsibility. Where there is space students may ride on school district buses. Bussing is frequently not available; carpooling and city busses are other options.
French Immersion is an authorized alternative program. Students in French Immersion follow the British Columbia Ministry of Education curriculum. Instruction is in French at the elementary level with the exception of English Language Arts beginning in Grade 3. See time allotments below for secondary level. An emphasis is placed on language acquisition through the curriculum.
Time Allotment of English and French Instruction:
The Board supports a French Immersion Program that will ensure a strong French academic program for students in elementary and secondary schools. The time allocations for the instruction in English and French are as follows:
Grade 3 - 7:
- 75% -80% instruction in French
- 20% -25% instruction in English Language Arts
(A minor increase in English at the Grade 7 level may be appropriate.)
Grades 8 - 10:
- Minimum of 50% (3 courses) instruction in French
- Minimum of 25% (2 courses) instruction in French
- Minimum of 12.5% (1 course) instruction in French
Report Cards and Age Level Expectations
Report cards are written in English and issued three times a year in elementary and four times per year in secondary .
Grade Level Expectations:
Although French Immersion students receive all their instruction in French from Kindergarten to the end of Grade 2, it is recognized that the development of a French-only environment is a two-year process. Kindergarten and Grade 1 students and teachers are able to use English when necessary, responding to the personal needs of students.
By the end of Kindergarten, children should understand many common phrases and words relating to the events that take place in class. It is not an expectation that children will be speaking French spontaneously by the end of Kindergarten as they need time to get used to the sound of this new language and time to understand what the words and phrases mean. Many children will be starting to use key phrases such as "est-ce que je peux aller boire?" (May I get a drink.), "J'ai besoin d'un crayon." (I need a pencil). They may be using some French words in their English sentences; a child may say, "I've got une pomme (apple) for snack today."
By the end of Grade 1, children should be able to express orally, in French, their basic needs and describe much of what they are doing. Reading and writing skills in French are developing, though not quite as rapidly as those of the children in the English program. The French Immersion students will need to spend much time developing their understanding of the French language and increasing their vocabulary.
By the end of Grade 2, children should be expressing themselves more fluently in French though an English word may be heard in a sentence where the French word isn't known. Children should have mastered the basics of reading and be able to express simple ideas in written form. This is important because in Grade 3 they will also receive instruction in reading and writing in English.
In Grade 3, children should be quite comfortable in the basic categories of communication: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
By the end of Grade 5, children should have the basic communication skills to enable them to function in French. Throughout the rest of the years, greater fluency is achieved.
Curriculum and Materials:
The Ministry of Education has developed a specific curriculum for French Immersion. Attached to this curriculum is an extensive list of recommended learning resources that have been previewed and approved. Individual schools choose materials from this list to suit their classroom programs.
Curricular and Extra-Curricular Opportunities:
The focus on language development does not inhibit the development of skills in other curricular areas (Math, Science, Socials, English, Fine Arts...). French Immersion students have identical opportunities to take part in all school and district programs: Science Fair, Heritage Fair, Extra-Curricular Sports, Mass Choir, etc.
Specific opportunities are provided for cultural and French language development: Concours, Theatre, Carnival, visiting French authors, etc.
Each dual-track school has a French section in the library consisting of both fiction and non-fiction materials which include cassettes, compact disks, CD ROMs, kits, maps, magazines and videos. Students in French Immersion access French and English materials from the Library for personal or school related use.
Immersion students have the same spectrum of abilities as any other cross section of the populations. For children having difficulties, learning assistance is available. Case management is also availible for students with special needs. This French-speaking Student Services Teacher works in French with teachers, small groups and individuals.
All School District No.5 parents and students have access to specialists such as counsellors, speech and language pathologists, and school psychologists (for psycho-educational testing). These services are available in English only.
For French Immersion Parents
Canadian Parents for French (C.P.F.):
Canadian Parents for French is a registered charity, composed primarily of English-speaking members, advocating the value of French as an integral part of Canada. www.cpf.ca
The Role of the Parent:
Preparing Your Child for Schooling
It is important to talk to your child about schooling before opening day in September. Let your child know that the teacher will be speaking French. Reassure your child that the other children will speak English and that the teacher will understand English and accept it being spoken. Be sure to stress the positive: your child will be making new friends, playing with new toys and working with a variety of new materials.
Encouraging Your Child
For all children, parental encouragement makes a great difference in a child's attitude towards school. Your enthusiasm for the French Immersion program is very important. Although you may not speak French (like most Immersion parents) you are still the positive force in encouraging your child at home. Be available to talk to your child about his day. Not all children are willing to do this at first, and you may feel cut off. Do not pressure your child -the desire to share will come.
Reading to Your Child
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of continuing to read to your child on a regular basis in English to provide him with a background of experiences and vocabulary. This also allows him to be exposed to the rich heritage of English literature. It is also a good way to develop your child's interest in learning to read. Visits with your child to the municipal library, where both French and English books are available, are a good idea.
The Need for a Break
It is normal for your child to come home a little weary. After all, this is a very new experience. Your child will be concentrating hard on new vocabulary and concepts. Please ensure that your child has adequate rest and relaxation from the mental and emotional effort of the day. Be proud of achievements, but patient … sharing may not happen right away.
Home and School Communication
Communication between parents and teacher is essential. Parents are encouraged to meet with the teachers to discuss the progress of their children. For a formal interview, contact the teacher ahead of time to set up a time and date. If something occurs in your home, which could upset your child, such as the death of a pet or a change in the family situation, it is important that the teacher be informed right away.
If you feel something at school is interfering with your child's learning, then his teacher should be informed of this concern.