Harwood elementary school Grade 6 late French immersion students Jaya Chauhan and Nadine Bondt and Grade 7 LFI students Thaddeus Bondt and Ronac Chauhan are happy to recommend the program to other students considering French as a second language.

Harwood elementary school Grade 6 late French immersion students Jaya Chauhan and Nadine Bondt and Grade 7 LFI students Thaddeus Bondt and Ronac Chauhan are happy to recommend the program to other students considering French as a second language.

The joy of a second language

The late French immersion program at Harwood elementary school welcomes Grade 6 students to learn the French language

The Vernon School District offers many unique learning opportunities.

Late French immersion at Harwood elementary school is one such program.

“The program invites Grade 6 students from around the district who are seeking a new challenge of learning the French language in a fast-paced, interactive and learning community,” said Rita Tedesco, late French immersion teacher at Harwood.

Thirty students are accepted in Grade 6 each year and remain at Harwood elementary school for Grade 6 and 7 and then go on to Seaton secondary to join their early immersion counterparts from Beairsto.

Tedesco calls the program an amazing and transformational learning experience, and  her students agree.

For Thad Bondt, what makes late French immersion special is that it has given him the opportunity to meet new friends and to learn with what he calls “awesome” teachers.

“It’s a lot more work, but the teachers make it fun,” said Thad, who is in Grade 7. “Don’t be afraid of not going and not knowing anyone.

“The teachers make sure that you’re not ever alone and you quickly make new friends.”

Thad’s sister, Nadine Bondt, is in Grade 6 in the program and she said she loves having teachers who are passionate about teaching French.

“Everyone is working very hard and is really encouraging to one another,” she said. “If you’re looking for a really fun challenge, this is it — I love it!”

Grade 7 LFI student Ronac Chauhan said everyone in the program brings something to the class environment.

“We’re all from different schools and have different backgrounds,” he said. “At the end of the school year, you have 24 best friends.”

His sister Jaya is in Grade 6 LFI and said thanks to her teacher, learning is a fun experience, with students playing word games as a way of mastering the language.

“That’s the best way to learn — it’s when you’re having fun and you’re always working as a unit,” she said. “And you’re in a class with 30 other kids who want to do well. We help each other when someone is stuck.”

Now in his second year as a late French immersion student, Ronac said it has changed him for the better. He now looks forward to school and doesn’t like to miss a day.

“Sometimes, I have to take a few days because of hockey but Madame always makes sure I have my homework,” he said. “Getting through the summer was hard because I missed my teacher and my classmates.

“I don’t know why any Grade 5 student wouldn’t consider this program.”

His younger sister said she couldn’t wait to sign up for LFI and join her brother at Harwood.

“My brother was always coming home and telling us everything he was learning,” she said. “I”m happy I’m finally in the program.”

A parent-student information meeting will be held at Harwood school Monday at 7 p.m. in room 13. Any parents interested in the program for their children are welcome to attend. Registration for the program is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. Jan. 15  at Harwood. For more information, please contact Tedesco at 250-542-5385.