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French Immersion Program

École J.H. Picard

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J.H. Picard School


Ecole J.H. Picard is a single track full French Immersion K-12 school. Our French Immersion program provides children with a wealth of experiences and advantages within the classroom walls and beyond. The program follows the regular Alberta Education curriculum in French with the addition of a regular English Language Arts Program. The program targets students with non French-speaking parents, while enriching and complementing a child's first language. It also enhances a student's academic growth and encourages new ways of thinking.

French Immersion is designed for students who have the desire to learn French. Students may register in kindergarten or grade one. At the Elementary level, the language of instruction for all subjects except Religion is French, and students also have regular English Language Arts classes beginning in Grade 2, usually after the first report card. At the Junior and Senior High level, students receive between 60% and 80% of their instruction in French, depending on the program selected. Particular attention is given to developing an appreciation of the French culture by offering annual cultural events and/or entertainment. 

French Immersion benefits the cognitive and social development of students, as well as their opportunities for career advancement. Research demonstrates that students who successfully complete a French Immersion program attain functional bilingualism. They achieve higher levels of proficiency in reading and listening comprehension skills in their second language but also they score higher than their uni-language learners in first language. Thus their level of functional proficiency is at the advanced level in both languages.

Learning a second language also teaches students about other cultures and broadens their perception of their own culture. In Canada, knowing both official languages opens doors to exciting career opportunities.

What do the experts say?

About French immersion

"Canadian immersion is not simply another successful language teaching program -- it may be the most successful program ever recorded in the professional language teaching literature."

from "Immersion: why it works and what it has taught us." Stephen D. Krashen, Ph.D., University of Southern California, in Language and Society No.12, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, winter 1984.

"It is because language is operating as a real mode of communication, a vehicle by which a child participates in a real event, communicating with and for a real audience, that French as the medium for this communication must be and is mastered by the child with amazing rapidity."

from "Learning Second Languages: Suzuki Violin and French Immersion, a Functional Perspective." Dames D. Benson and William S. Greaves, Applied Linguistics Research Working Group, Glendon College, York University, Toronto in CONTACT 2(2) May 1983.

"Researchers have found that immersion students with a variety of difficulties -- from learning disabilities to low intelligence to behavioral problems -- will do as well academically as they could be expected to do in an English program provided they receive the same assistance as they would if enrolled in the English stream."

from Yes, You Can Help! Information and Inspiration for French Immersion Parents. Alberta Education, 1997.

Students with learning needs in French immersion

"French immersion programs can no longer support any form of exclusivity and elitism. They must be accessible to all students, no matter their cognitive and physical abilities, socio-economic status, or linguistic and cultural background."

from Inclusive Practice in French Immersion by Martine Pellerin, PhD, 2009

"The transfer of students from an immersion program to an English-only program in most cases results in no improvement of the children's academic success, nor in their behaviour. Researchers have encouraged the development of strategies for working with students with special education needs within the French Immersion program rather than encouraging these students to transfer."

from Diversity in French Immersion: Information for education professionals, consultants and specialists. Alberta Education

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