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Central Okanagan School District
SD No. 23
Together We Learn
Frequently Asked Questions

When can my child enter the French Immersion Program?

The entry point for Early French Immersion is Kindergarten or Grade 1.

​Are all subjects taught in French?

Kindergarten to Grade 2 students receive 100% instruction in French. In some cases non-classroom teachers such as Teacher librarians or specialty teachers may not speak French and therefore students will receive that instruction in English. Grade 3 to Grade 6 students have 80% instruction in French. Grade 7 to Grade 9 students have 50 -75 % of their instruction in French. Grade 11 and Grade 12 students receive 25% of their instruction in French.

Will my child learn the same things as their peers in the English program?

The French Immersion and English curriculum are the same as specified by the British Columbia Ministry of Education. The only difference is the language of instruction.

What are the benefits of learning a second language?

    • Learning a second language develops your child’s listening and learning skills as well as their self-discipline.
    • It increases their cognitive abilities by helping them to become more flexible thinkers.
    • It enhances their knowledge of and their ability to communicate in their first language.
    • It makes learning a third or fourth language easier.
    • It can provide opportunities for future employment or career advancement

What will happen to my child’s first language?

The authors of "Yes You can help! Information and Inspiration for French Immersion Parents", Pat Brehaut and Judy Gibson, have concluded the following: "The results of 30 years of studies undertaken from St. John's to Victoria are clear and consistent: early total immersion students tend to lag behind English-program students in more technical aspects of the language (e.g. capitalization and spelling) until they have had a year of two of English Language Arts. However, by grade 5 or 6 (even if this subject is not introduced until grade 3), they perform as well as their English-program peers."
Within School District 23 some students perform equal to the English students and/or sometimes outperformed them with respect to English language communication and reading by grade 5 or 6.
It is important to continue reading to your child in English. This provides your child with a background of experience and vocabulary and allows them to be exposed to the rich selection of English literature.
It is helpful, if you can encourage your child to use correct grammatical structures in his/her speech.

What are the grade level expectations in French Immersion?

    • By the end of Kindergarten, children should understand many common phrases and words relating to the classroom activities. It is not expected that children will be speaking French spontaneously by the end of Kindergarten as they need time to hear the sound of the new language and they need time to learn the vocabulary.  Many children start using  simple key phrases such as, “Est-ce que je peux aller à la salle de bain?” (Can I go to the washroom?). They might also use French words in their English sentences such as, “I’ve got a poisson.” (I have a fish.)
    • By the end of Grade 1, children should be able to express orally, their needs and describe what they are doing. French reading and writing skills are developing and they are increasing their knowledge of the French language and expanding their vocabulary.
    • By the end of Grade 2, children should be expressing themselves more fluently in French though they may use certain English words when they don’t know the word in French. At this point, they should have mastered the basics of reading and they should be able to express simple ideas in writing.
    • By the end of Grade 3, the children should be quite comfortable in the basic categories of communication: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
    • By the end of Grades 4 and 5, children should have the basic communication skills to enable them to function in French.
    • Throughout the rest of the years, the students develop a greater fluency and understanding in all aspects of the French language.

What are the goals of the French Immersion program?

    • The goal of the program is to produce well educated bilingual individuals so that a student, after secondary education, would be able to take further education with French as the language of instruction at the college or university level and that he/she would understand the lectures, write papers and take part in class discussions.
    • That the student could accept employment using French as the working language.
    • That the student can participate easily in a French conversation.
    • That the student understands and appreciates the attitudes and commonly held values of members of a French-speaking community.

What is my role as a parent?

Teachers are aware of the fact that most students come from English speaking homes and that there may be only minimal support at home. Teachers keep this in mind when assigning homework and assignments.

As in the regular English classroom, parents are encouraged to play an active role in their child’s education by supporting their children, by attending conferences and by being involved in the schools.

Parents have a large influence on their children’s attitudes towards learning a second language. If the parents are positive towards second language learning and are exciting about this opportunity for their children, the attitude will carry over to their children.

How can I help my child to learn French?

There are a number of benefits to exposing French Immersion students to French outside of the classroom. This can be done by listening to French radio stations, watching French television shows, watching videos in French or with French subtitles, attending French summer family camps, playing French computer games , traveling to French communities, accessing French websites, providing your child with French books and purchasing a good French-English Dictionary.

The best thing that a family can do to help their child is to encourage them, praise their efforts and to show them that you’re proud of them for learning another language.

What if my child struggles in French Immersion?

For students who have difficulties, they can work with the French Immersion Learning Assistance teacher (orthopédagogue). This teacher works and supports the student’s learning in the class, with individuals or in small groups. If the student continues to struggle, parents participate in a School Based Team Meeting where the group works together to find ways of helping the student within the program.

Who teaches the program?

The teachers of this program are bilingual, completely fluent in French and qualified teachers who are members of the British Columbia Teachers Federation.

How is French Immersion funded?

The federal government pays a portion of the costs incurred in the French Immersion program; the Ministry of Education pays the majority of the cost. Once a class is established, the cost per pupil is similar to that in the regular English program.

How do I prepare my child for a French Immersion class?

It is good to talk to your child about schooling before they start. Let them know that the teacher will speak some French. Reassure them that the other students are learning French for the first time as well. They can be told that the teacher will understand English and accept it being spoken in Kindergarten and at the beginning of Grade 1. Be sure to stress the positive. At this young age, they might not understand the “big picture” of why you are choosing French Immersion for them.
You can register your child in a French preschool. There are two French Preschools in our School District.  Le Petit Hibou is housed in École George Pringle Elementary and in École Belgo Elementary.
Your enthusiasm and positive reinforcement are key factors to their success.

I don’t speak French. Will that be a problem for my child?

The French Immersion program was designed for English speaking families. The majority of parents of French Immersion students do not speak French. 

What are some of the course options that my child will have at the Middle School or High School level?

The following courses are offered in French at K.L.O. Middle School:
    • Français langue (French Language) 7, 8, 9
    • Sciences Humaines (Social Studies) 7, 8, 9
    • Mathématiques (Math) 7, 8, 9
    • Sciences Naturelles (Science) 7, 8, 9
    • Health and Career 7, 8
    • P.E. 7, 8
The following courses are offered in French at Kelowna Secondary School:
    • Sciences Naturelles 10
    • Français Langue (French Language) 10, 11, 12
    • Sciences Humaines (Social Studies) 10, 11
    • Mathématiques  (Math) 10, 11,

Why should I choose French Immersion for my child?

Canada is a bilingual country. French and English are our two official languages.
In addition to receiving a French Immersion Dogwood diploma, French Immersion graduates can expect an increased appreciation of other languages and cultures, benefit from enhanced career and job opportunities, and develop a greater facility to learn other languages.