While the French Immersion program focuses on French skills, it also provides opportunities for students to develop their English language skills and to follow a full and balanced program in other areas of the curriculum.
In grades One and Two, 75% of the instruction is given in French and 25% is in English. The children will explore a wide variety of themes which follow the curricula of the Ministry of Education. Communication skills are emphasized and the children improve and develop increasing confidence at expressing themselves in French.
In both Grades One and Two, a period of instruction in English language arts, approximately 75 minutes per day is introduced. This English language arts program includes reading, writing, listening, speaking, and developing skills in spelling and grammar. Christian Living is also taught in English.
With the emphasis on the acquisition of the French language, a slight lag in some areas such as English spelling or reading may be apparent, however, these lags are quickly overcome and usually disappear by the end of the junior grades.
In a French Immersion program, French is not simply taught as a subject, but becomes a medium of instruction for all or most of the curriculum. The curriculum content taught in the French Immersion program is identical to the English program. When French is the language of mathematics, geography or music, students have opportunities to use immediately the vocabulary and structures they have learned. Studies show that such meaningful communication activities are of great importance to second-language learning.
In Grades Three to Eight, French and English instruction is balanced, as near as possible, to offer a 50/50 ratio.
Kindergarten 75% French - 25% English
Grades One & Two 75% French - 25% English
Grades Three-Eight 50% French - 50% English
Take the time to get personally involved in some of the class activities. The teacher will appreciate your assistance and your interest in the class.
A "Meet the Teacher" evening is usually held in early fall at St. Joseph's School.
The French Immersion Senior Kindergarten program is identical to our English program. The only significant difference is that French is the language of instruction.
Except in emergency situations, the teacher addresses the class only in French, although the children often continue to use English, especially among themselves. To overcome the initial language barrier, French Immersion teachers are creative and energetic in their approach. The use of mime, drama, music and body language is evident. From the outset, the child needs to feel happy and secure in the learning environment to order to flourish.
An important key to success is a positive attitude in the home toward the language and the program. If your child is eager to speak French at home, offer encouragement, but never pressure him or her to do so. Some students are very shy to express themselves in French outside the classroom, especially to their family members.
Before long, you should notice that your child is well adjusted to his or her new situation. Your child will take it as a natural course. In his or her eyes, French is the language of communication in the classroom. By the end of the year, children are able to recognize a large vocabulary and are using words and sentences to express themselves. They are able to follow the teacher's instructions and to understand conversations and stories.
Keep in mind that in the early stages of the program, the level of the child's comprehension is much higher that his or her ability to express himself or herself.