In the French Immersion program, students achieve a high level of proficiency in French, while they continue to develop English language skills. From grades 1 to 8, they spend half of their school day learning in French and the other half learning in English.
In high school, students are required to complete 10 credits in French. By the end of the four year secondary school program, students will have successfully completed the sequence of four courses in French Immersion and a minimum of six courses in other subjects taught in French. By the end of high school, Immersion students have proficiency in both French and English. When they graduate, they receive a certificate of bilingual studies.
The Extended French program is another way for students to pursue learning opportunities in French. This optional program starts in grade 7 and provides for continued learning in the French Language. Students spend half of their school day studying language arts, social studies and science in French. In high school, students take four credits in Extended French and three credits in other subjects taught in French.
All students in grades 4 to 8 study French as a second language for 40 minutes a day as part of the core French program. Students in core French develop a basic usable command of French. In high school, students need one core French language credit to earn their diploma.
How can you tell if your child will be successful in FI/EF?
Based on more than 20 years of experience with Immersion programs, we have found some characteristics that are common to successful students in French Immersion. These characteristics are indicators to help you to make a good choice. We strongly recommend that you discuss these characteristics with your child's kindergarten teacher.
A successful student:
- is verbal and likes to talk
- has strong skills in his or her first language
- enjoys books
- imitates easily
- has a good memory
- is confident
- is a risk-taker
- enjoys new challenges
- has demonstrated a successful transition from home to school
Immersion students read and write English as well as other students
One of the questions parents often ask is whether their child's progress in English or other subjects will suffer by being in FI.
While there may be an initial lag in some English skills in the primary years, Immersion students rapidly catch up to students in regular programs, suggesting that they transfer many of their language skills from French to English. By the end of grade 6, Immersion students have comparable English language skills to their peers in regular programs.
You don't have to speak French to help your child with French
If I don't speak French at home, many parents ask, how can I help my child in French? Our French programs are designed for children of non-French speaking parents. Your involvement and support for your child's education is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your child is successful in school—that's true no matter what program your child is taking. Reading to your child regularly in English is one important role you can play.
Here are some things you can do to help your child be successful in French:
- Learn as much as you can about the French program.
- Show your child that you are committed to the program.
- Encourage your child and show an interest in what your child is learning.
- Find ways to expose your child to French or to use French outside of school time. Borrow French books from the public library, listen to children's music by French artists, watch some French television programs, and visit French communities.
How can you get more information
- Talk with other parents who have children in the French immersion program. Your FI school can give you some contact names, or you can visit the Canadian Parents for French website.
- Ask your school about the FI school nearest you or call our Planning department at 905-890-1010 (or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2212.