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 English classes?
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 regular program.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.