Inspiring Hearts and Minds

French Immersion

The French Immersion program provides your child with the opportunity to become functionally bilingual while achieving success in all areas of the Alberta curriculum. French immersion is modelled after how children acquire their first language. Bilingualism is an asset in both academic and personal pursuits as it opens their minds to other languages, cultures and avenues to success.

Canadian Rockies Public Schools' French Immersion Program

Through the French Immersion program, CRPS is committed to providing students opportunities to acquire a high level of proficiency in French while maintaining and developing English language skills.

French immersion is modelled after how children acquire their first language. Bilingualism is an asset in both academic and personal pursuits as it opens their minds to other languages, cultures and avenues to success.

Alberta Learning clearly states the desired entry point for French Immersion is Kindergarten or Grade 1 (and is intended to continue to Grade 12). There have been four cases of students transferring to the French Immersion program in CRPS over the last 20 years. Those four students started in either Grade 2 or Grade 3. Every year a child goes without being in FI, the level of difficulty (transferring into FI) increases exponentially.

If parents of children in Grades 2 or 3 express a strong interest in placing their child in a French Immersion program, the following steps will be taken:

  • a meeting must be scheduled with the Principal:

Parent’s will share answers to the following questions:

  • How would you describe your child's competencies in his first language (Do they have strong communication skills in his/her first language)? Rationale: Learners learn their second language much like they learn their first language
  • What grade level is s-he reading and writing at?
  • Does your child express an interest in learning another language?
  • Does your child enjoy language (such as reading, being read to and listening to music)?
  • How would you describe your child’s listening and focusing skills?
  • Does your child enjoy new experiences?
  • It will be clearly communicated to parents there will be no extra support for children trying to catch up.

Evidence of Learning will be collected:

  • Parents will be asked to share some of their child’s work
  • Previous report cards and teacher comments
  • The French Coordinator or French Immersion teacher will record a conversation with the child. It will be assessed using an oral rubric (contact Nadine Trottier for this document).
  • Reading Assessment using GB+ can be used

The final decision will rest with the Principal.

Learn More on CRPS Website Under "Unique Programming"

Transferring Students from FI to the English Program

The decision to transfer students from the FI to the English program should be made according to what is best for the child and on a case by case basis.

The following principles should be considered when making a decision:

- Most learning difficulties are not language specific. Once your child has acquired strategies to overcome them, those strategies will be transferred to the French settings when your child is shown the connections.” Alberta Education (1996). Although the ideal is for all resources to be in French, learning strategies are transferable. It is acceptable that certain resources are available in English and this situation should not be a reason for leaving a French Immersion program.

- Provided students receive effective interventions, students with learning disabilities can experience success in acquiring a second language (CPF, 2010, p.1). We recommend these interventions occur in the early grades for greater results whenever possible. Intervention may be offered through universal strategies, small group work or one-on-one with the teacher.

- “Since learning disabilities are intrinsic to the individual, the French immersion program does not cause them nor can they be solved by simply changing the language of instruction. Deficits in the area of cognitive ability and academic skills are independent of the program in which the student is enrolled and the language in which the student receives instruction.” (Alberta Learning, 2010).

- The document on inclusive education in FI (2007) reinstate that struggling learners may benefit from staying in the FI program, under the following conditions: students should receive the extra support needed; teachers must differentiate their teaching to respond to the students’ needs; the student must be motivated to learn his or her second language and want to stay in the program; the student should not be experiencing added stress due to his or her learning difficulties in the context of second language acquisition (Alberta Education, 2007, p.2).

If it is deemed by the school team and parents, that a transfer from French Immersion to English would best suit the child, the transfer needs to occur at a natural break, such as Winter Break, Spring Break or the end of the school year.