Family learns together

The Vernon School District offers many excellent, unique learning opportunities for students. One of the district programs that is now going into its eighth year is the Late French Immersion Program. This program begins at Grade 6 and then continues into Grade 7, bridging with early immersion at Grade 8. The program is housed at Harwood elementary and is thriving.

  • Jan. 27, 2011 7:00 p.m.
Carly and Kate ALexander started in the Late French Immersion program in the Vernon School District and have continued with French immersion at W.L. Seaton secondary school. Their  brother

Carly and Kate ALexander started in the Late French Immersion program in the Vernon School District and have continued with French immersion at W.L. Seaton secondary school. Their brother

The Vernon School District offers many excellent, unique learning opportunities for students. One of the district programs that is now going into its eighth year is the Late French Immersion Program. This program begins at Grade 6 and then continues into Grade 7, bridging with early immersion at Grade 8. The program is housed at Harwood elementary and is thriving.

We interviewed Grade 10 Seaton student Kate Alexander who took the Late French Immersion (LFI) program and is now well on her way to developing excellent fluency in the French language.

Why did you choose Late French Immersion?

I wanted to learn French and become bilingual. I heard that speaking French would offer me more opportunities, especially living in Canada. I also wanted to meet new friends and the LFI class seemed like a great opportunity to do so.

What was it like for you?

It was challenging but lots of fun at the same time. There was quite a bit more homework than what I was used to, but after the first term most of us were speaking well enough to communicate with others for the whole day. By the end of Grade 6 I was speaking fluently and had made new friends.

What makes this program and the learning unique?

When I graduate I will be officially bilingual. There is really no other program in the district where you can learn another language in two years. Also the class was made up of students from all over the district and I became friends with students I would have never met.

How has this program changed the course of your education and your life?

My father calls it “academic boot camp” and in a way it is. I had to learn to be extremely organized and focused. These skills have really helped me to continue and do well with the immersion program in high school.

I also think it has opened many new doors for me. Because of LFI, this year I have the opportunity to travel to Quebec for a week with an exchange program through Seaton. This will be my second time, as my Grade 7 LFI class went in 2008. Also next year, in Grade 11, I am planning to travel to France to live with a family for three months and attend a French high school. When I graduate I will receive a double Dogwood, which says I am bilingual. If I choose to I can attend SFU and receive a bachelor’s degree in both French and English, an opportunity I would not have had if I had not taken LFI.

Who is this program best suited for?

I feel it is best suited for students who are determined to put the time and effort into learning a new language. The successful students in my classes did their homework, listened to the teacher and always put their best effort into everything they did. Students who enjoy learning and challenging themselves will do well in Late French Immersion.

Grade 5 students are eligible to register for the September 2011 school year.

For more information, please call Harwood elementary at 250-542-5385. The parent information evening will be on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Harwood library.

Program registration opens on Jan. 31 at 9 a.m. at the Harwood school office, 4320-20th St.