Second languages open new doors for students and that is why the government proclaimed the first week of February French Immersion Celebration Week to support students and educators involved in French Immersion throughout the province.
French immersion provides kindergarten-to-Grade 12 students with the opportunity to become bilingual. This study of language and culture helps students develop cultural understanding as well as critical and creative thinking.
Over the past 10 years, French immersion enrolment has increased by almost 40 per cent in public schools. Over 50,000 students are currently enrolled in French immersion schools, both public and independent, throughout the province. Close to $10 million a year comes from the federal government to support French as a second language education programs.
“Students who learn French as a second language have a competitive advantage when they graduate and start to search for careers,” said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education. “French Immersion students are an important asset to B.C.’s growing talent pool for the future jobs of tomorrow.”
Over the coming weeks, French Immersion students will have the opportunity to celebrate with fun-filled activities in their communities. French-inspired carnivals will be held in Nanaimo, Burnaby, Kelowna, Bulkley Valley, Burns Lake and Nelson. Activities will include French Canadian music performers, tasting French Canadian foods, learning traditional folk dances and much more. These events are hosted by Canadian Parents for French, a national network of volunteers that promote French-second-language learning opportunities for young Canadians. Learn more at: http://bc-yk.cpf.ca/about-us/branches/
The French Immersion program is intended for students who do not have French as a first language and want to develop a high level of proficiency in English and French. French Immersion is offered in two models: early French immersion beginning in kindergarten, and late French immersion beginning in Grade 6.
Students enrolled in French immersion study the same curriculum as students in the English-language program. However, in the French immersion program, the language of instruction and communication is French. In addition to language learning, students have the opportunity to explore the richness and diversity of Francophone cultures.
“Canadians who speak both Official Languages earn, on average, 10 per cent more and have a three per cent lower unemployment rate, compared to Canadians who only speak one of our Official Languages,” said Glyn Lewis, executive director, Canadian Parents for French, B.C. and Yukon. “Families are flocking to French immersion because it’s a life-changing program that opens countless opportunities.”