French Immersion FAQs
Although research has demonstrated that French Immersion is an educational model with universal application, many parents have questions which they need to have answered before enrolling their children into the program.
Q. What can I do to help my child if I don't speak French?
A. The majority of French Immersion parents don't speak French. But you can still do a lot to support your child in French Immersion.
- Concentrate on enriching your child's first language. Read aloud to your child every day in the dominant language of your home. This will develop your child's knowledge and vocabulary. By fostering a love of languages and by motivating your child to seek out books independently, you will lay the ground work for life-long learning in French, English or any other language
- Demonstrate an ongoing interest, participation, and commitment to your child's education
- Contact the local chapter of Canadian Parents for French (CPF) or call 604-524-0134 for for ideas on ways to reinforce your child's learning of French outside of school
Q. Will my child's English skills suffer, if s/he doesn't receive any formal English instruction before grade 4?
A. Research shows that sometime between grades 4 and 6, Early French Immersion students from English-speaking homes catch up to (and sometimes surpass) the level of English skills of their regular program counterparts. French Immersion students who have English as a second language may or may not need somewhat longer to attain English skills at grade level.
Q. What if my child already speaks two languages?
A. At least one of these languages must be properly developed for his/her age, in order to provide a solid base from which to learn a third language (French). For many learners, learning a second language facilitates the learning of a third.
Q. What if my child has difficulty in his/her mother tongue?
A. Research clearly indicates that a well-developed mother tongue is essential to learning a second language. The more fluent a child is in his/her own language, the easier it is to learn another. Simple articulation difficulties however rarely impair a child's ability to learn another language. If in doubt, consult the principal or speech and language specialist at the French Immersion school you are considering.