What is French Immersion?
French Immersion is a program offered nationally for children from
primarily English speaking backgrounds. Its purpose is to provide students
with the opportunity to learn a second language of instruction and classroom
communication, not a separate subject studied in isolation of other
subjects. Neither the child entering the program nor his/her parents need to
have any knowledge of the French language or culture. The French Immersion
Program offered by the Lambton Kent District School Board begins at the
Junior Kindergarten level and continues to the end of secondary school.
Why French Immersion?
According to the research, the best age for beginning the continuous
learning of a second language is 4 to 8 years old. Due to the number of
hours a child is exposed to French in the Early Immersion Program, it is
expected that he/she will attain a native like fluency by the completion of
his/her elementary grades. Additionally, studies show that Immersion
students do as well as, if not better than, their English counterparts in
Mathematics, Science and Language skills; job and travel opportunities are
broadened and they have a wide appreciation for cultural differences.
Are there competent teachers to teach French Immersion?
Yes. Specific programs to train Immersion teachers are available at
Faculties of Education. The Association Canadienne des Professeurs
d'Immersion (ACPI) provides professional development opportunities for
teachers of French Immersion, as does the Lambton Kent Program Department.
Will my child be getting the same program as he/she would in the
Yes. French Immersion programs follow the same Ontario Curriculum that is
mandated by the Ministry of Education and Training.
Shouldn't some sort of screening take place?
The only children found to be very poor candidates for Immersion are
those with a poor sense of auditory discrimination or auditory memory.
Attempts are made to identify these pupils as early as possible.
Will French Immersion affect my child's social development?
Studies have proven that early Immersion students suffer no intellectual,
emotional, or social impairment. While they might tend to associate more
with their classmates on the playground, this is typical of all children.
They develop the same sense of Canadian identity as do children in the
Will my child's English suffer?
McGill's Dr. Lambert says "pupils appear to be able to read, write,
speak, understand and use English as well as youngsters instructed via
English in the conventional manner. In addition, at no cost, they can also
read, write, speak and understand French in a way that English pupils who
follow traditional second-language teaching methods never do.
Junior & Senior Kindergarten
In junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten, the language of
instruction is French. The children's introduction to the Early
Immersion Program is "gentle", in that they continue to express themselves
in English at this level - only the teacher speaks French. This builds
listening comprehension in French so that when academic content is
introduced in Grade 1, the children have little difficulty following what is
going on. Basic vocabulary is taught through the use of rhymes, songs,
short stories and play acting.
All instruction , including reading, writing and mathematics is in
French. Speaking skills receive greater emphasis and the children are
increasingly able to express themselves in French.
English language studies are introduced in Grade 3 for 50% of the
instructional time. Specific study areas are designated for English or
At the secondary level, students in the French Immersion program take one
third of their course requirements in French. Upon successful
completion of the program, they are granted a Certificate in French