What is French immersion?
Immersion is the most effective method known for
teaching a second-language.
Early immersion works well because a young child lacks self-consciousness,
prejudice and negativism… and loves mimicry, memorization
and repetition. Early immersion provides more time working in a
second-language… and more time results in more learning.
In kindergarten the teacher addresses the class in French, although
the children often continue to use English, especially among themselves.
By the end of the year children are able to recognize a large vocabulary
and are attempting to use single words and a few short sentences.
They are able to follow the teacher’s instructions and to
understand simple stories.
In grade one all instruction, including reading, writing and arithmetic,
is given in French. Speaking skills receive greater emphasis and
the children get better at expressing themselves in French. They
are usually speaking only French in the classroom by Christmas.
In general, beginning at about grade three, one period each day is
devoted to English language arts. In later years, the amount of
time spent in each language varies with different school systems.
Check with your own school system to find out what their policies
The aim of early immersion is functional bilingualism. Graduates
of immersion are able to communicate comfortably in the second-language
while maintaining the same fluency in their mother tongue as their
peers in standard English programs.
Why should I choose French immersion for
Because it opens one more door for them and for their future well-being.
Graduates of a full immersion program can expect increased appreciation
of other languages and cultures, enhanced career potential, and
a key to learning other languages as well as a more global view
of Canada and the world.
Is French immersion for everyone?
Immersion is suitable for children of all academic abilities. French
immersion may present an additional challenge to your child but
it is not to be confused with enrichment. It is a program developed
for the specific purpose of giving Anglophone school children the
opportunity to become bilingual, while still maintaining their English
skills. The Immersion method was created for children whose classroom
language is not their first language. If you have any specific concerns,
talk to a teacher in an immersion program near you or call CPF-SK
at 1.800.561.6151 or 306.244.6151 from Saskatoon or outside of Saskatchewan.
children learn the same things as their peers in the English program?
Both programs follow the guidelines of the Saskatchewan Department
of Learning. The French immersion curricula is the same as the
English one except for French Language Arts. Only the language of instruction is different.
When is English introduced?
In Saskatchewan, English must be introduced by grade two or three. Some
school divisions choose to introduce it earlier. Students are
exposed to one period a day of English language arts. Within a
year of two, they should be reading in both languages. Skills
in one language can be transferred to benefit the development
of the other.
my child needs extra help or an extra challenge?
Not all schools offer remedial or enrichment activities in French,
although many schools do have resource teachers who are bilingual.
CPF encourages school boards to provide similar support services
in both official languages. A child with learning difficulties
should not have to leave the program to get help or enrichment.
I help if I don't speak French?
Your encouragement and belief in the value of a second-language
will strengthen your child's learning experience. CPF can supply
a book called 'YES, you can help!'. Call the CPF-SK office for
information on ordering a copy. We also have a 'French for Parents'
program. Ask your teacher and/or your CPF-SK Chapter to offer
a class. You can also ask about out-of-school French-language
activities you could take your child to or that you could help
How competent are graduates
They are able to take post-secondary courses in French, attend
French-speaking post-secondary institutions, and use French in
the workplace. In short, graduates are functionally bilingual.
The extent of their competence depends on individual ability,
motivation and exposure to the language. Their level of competence
will be greater if they study more than just the language in French.
They should use French as the language of instruction in as many
subjects as possible.
After 30 years of growth and development, French immersion is
one of the most studied programs ever introduced into Canadian
schools. The majority of the research results have been positive.
As a result, the immersion method has been adopted by other countries.
Each year, thousands of students across Canada graduate with excellent
skills in both languages. Many of these graduates have also said
that they could enroll their own children in French immersion.
Success in learning a second-language
depends on the attitude and ability of the individual, the excellence
of the program provided in the schools, and to a large extent
the supportive attitude of the parents. Students who have completed
a full program of studies in French and who have participated
in extracurricular and program enrichment activities will graduate
speaking French with ease and fluency.
French immersion is a Canadian innovation in second-language
learning - proven successful and internationally acclaimed.