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Late Immersion: Application Form (document)


École Whitehorse Elementary 


What is the Early French Immersion Program?


French Immersion is a 50 year old program developed in Canada. Students enrolled in this program cover the BC curriculum, studying the same subjects as those in an English program but do so in French. Research as shown that students in French Immersion have equal or greater achievement to those in the English progam, and gain the benefits of being able to work, study or travel in their new language. This program was introduced to École Whitehorse Elementary school in January, 1981. French Immersion is a highly successful approach to second language learning – an effective way for your child to become functionally fluent in a second language while achieving the objectives of the regular school program.

Early French Immersion begins in Kindergarten or Grade One. 

Early French Immersion Program FAQ:


What percentage of the instruction time is in French?

The amount of instruction in French is 100% in kindergarten. Starting in Grade One, language arts is delivered in English. This balanced literacy program enables students to learn to read and write first in English, their mother tongue before learning to read and write in their new second language. French language arts is then introduced in Grade Two. The amount of instruction in French, therefore, is approximately 80% from Grades One through Seven.


Why start in French in Kindergarten?

Young children who begin their schooling in French think that French instruction is normal! They don’t know anything different. Teachers speak French right from the beginning, adding English when there may be concerns for safety or to ensure the students are comfortable. The teachers are very good at acting things out to make themselves understood. Students have a period in their language learning when they are able to understand before they can speak in French. They will begin with single words, some French songs and chants. Just like learning English, they acquire phrases, then sentences and typically, mid-way through Grade One, they are able to speak naturally in short sentences. Individual differences occur and are normal.


Starting in Grade One

French immersion is open to any student starting Grade One. Based on years of experience with immersion programs, the Vancouver School Board has suggested some characteristics that are common to successful students in French immersion. These characteristics are indicators that can help you make an appropriate choice for your child. We strongly recommend that you discuss the following characteristics with your child's kindergarten teacher. 


Is my child ready for French Immersion?

Parents and guardians are their child’s first teachers. You know your child best. A good candidate for French Immersion is one who:

- is verbal and likes to talk;

- has strong skills in his or her first language;

- tolerates ambiguity without getting easily frustrated;

- demonstrates an eagerness to try new things;

- enjoys books;

- imitates easily;

- has a good memory;

- is confident;

- enjoys new challenges;

- has demonstrated a successful transition from home to school;

- may have small articulation challenges, but not severe ones;


What can I do to help my child in French?

- Ask what your child does at school; show an interest in the fact that he/she is acquiring the French language.

- Encourage your child to use the language consistently while at school to enhance fluency.

- Encourage your child to speak in French outside the school during extra-curricular activities, travels etc.

- Encourage your child to listen to a radio station and watch television in French.

- Purchase French music for him/her to listen to.

- Provide a positive reading atmosphere at home.

- Listen to your child read in French (even if you don’t understand).

- Subscribe your child to a French magazine.

- Purchase your child French books and borrow books from a local library.

- Take part in various French cultural and recreational activities.








                                                                           LATE FRENCH IMMERSION PROGRAM

                                                                           École Whitehorse Elementary

















Late French Immersion Program FAQ:


Who may enrol?

The program is available to all students who will be  entering grade six in September 2015.


Is French Immersion a completely different program?

The program is very similar to the one taught in the English classes with the same content areas in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, physical education, music and art, except that all subjects are taught in French in grade six.  Language Arts in English is re-introduced in grade seven.


Do the students need French to follow the material?

No.  When they enter the class, students are assumed to have a little or no French.  For the first two or three weeks, some English will be used.  After the first month or two, the students will acquire enough French to do their other subjects in that language.


Will students' English language skills suffer?

There is no evidence that students' ability to read, write and spell in English is harmed by the program over the long term.


How much French will they acquire in a year?

Most students will be able to converse in French reasonably well by the end of grade six.  The students' written skills will need further development in grade seven.  By the end of grade seven they should read and write French at their grade level while still maintaining their English skills.


How do I indicate my interest in French Immersion?

Registrations are taking place in May. Please get your information package directly from École Whitehorse Elementary, 4181 4th Avenue.


Are there any limitations?

Yes.  The number of students entering the program is limited. Interviews with students and parents will take place after registration. Priority will be given to highly motivated students.


Graduation from French Immersion

Students continuing in the French Immersion program through grade 12 and graduating will receive their final Dogwood Diploma in both English and French.


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