Frequently Asked Questions

Who should register in French Immersion?

Any family wanting enrich learning experience for their child should consider French Immersion. While the program is primarily intended for students whose family is not French speaking, many French families enroll their children in our French Immersion program. French speaking families really enrich the program.  Instructional strategies and materials are designed for families who are not French speaking. Students are offered the same assistance as any English Program would.

When is English instruction taught at Agnes Davidson?

From kindergarten to grade two, students are taught 100% French. Formal English instruction begins at grade three where you child will receive one hour of English Language Arts instruction daily until grade 5.

If I do not speak French, how will I help my child?

  • Showing an interest in the program and in their child’s progress
  • Encouraging and supporting their child’s efforts
  • Participate wherever possible in the total life of the school. Become a volunteer in the classroom by coming on field trips, helping with our reading programs, helping with Lunch on the Go, etc.
  • Providing additional opportunities for exposure to French language and culture beyond the classroom, such as choosing one or two TV programs with which their child is familiar and watching them on the French channel or participating in French community events. For more info of French cultural events, see info at the end of the document.
  • Help your child develop good study habits, such as having your child reread homework questions, understand what the question is asking, help your child find answers in notes or other resources, and help your child answer questions by formulating complete sentences.
  • Have your child read orally to you and summarize briefly what is read. This often helps consolidated their own French comprehension and encourages their child to extract the general meaning of a passage rather than dwelling on a few words they don’t understand. If those few tricky words keep re-appearing in passages, then consult a dictionary or online translator. It is normal not to understand every word.
  • Keep in contact with your child’s teacher.  Your teacher can direct you to helpful websites or resources, and give you addition information about specific assignments. 
  • Set up homework partners with the help of your child’s teacher, your child can contact their partner for support.

If I teach my child to read in English, will this be confusing for my child?

If you notice that your child is confusing some letter sounds while reading in English, teach your child about the differences of certain letter sounds in French and English by making a chart or diagram.  Usually, the initial confusion will be short-lived and your child will have the benefit of discovering that they are readers not only in French, but in English as well!

How can I support my young child at home?

  • Read regularly to and with your young child at home, in English is fine, to promote a love of reading. A child exposed to a language-rich environment usually performs well in the French Immersion setting. Do listen to your child read and sing at home. Ask questions about what they have read. Do not attempt to correct your child if you are uncertain about the French.
  • Provide an environment rich in experiences, such as visits to the nature centre or swimming pool.  Talk about these experiences afterwards.
  • Listen to music with your child.  (French music and books can be purchased at The Public Libraries, La Mediathèque, Chapters, etc.)
  • Attend a French community activity with your child, such as the “Cabane à sucre” (Maple sugar shack) which frequently take in March.  (Contact the Canadian Parents for French or L’association canadienne-francaise de l’Alberta- ACFA)
  • Be patient during the first months of school as your child becomes accustomed to their new class, teacher and language.  Be appreciative of your child’s effort to work and play in a new language.  Encourage your child!
  • Attend parent-teacher-student interviews and keep in contact with your child’s teacher to discuss progress.
  • Do remember that each child learns at different rates and in different ways. Try not to compare your child to anyone else.
  • Ensure your child has adequate rest.

How can I support my older child at home?

  • Have your child use their school agenda to record homework assignments, and test dates.  Check and sign the agenda daily.  Use the agenda to communicate with your child’s teacher.
  • Work on homework at the same time and place each day.  Have all supplies available such as paper, pens and pencils as well as a good dictionary at the work area.
  • Keep up an open dialogue with your child.  Try to learn your child’s likes, struggles and concerns, and discuss these.
  • Review notes and assignments in preparation for exams.
  • Struggling with dictée? Have your child record their own dictée words and then spell them out. 
  • Attend parent-teacher-student interviews and keep in contact with your child’s teacher.
  • With the support of your child’s teacher, set up a study buddy for your child.  The study buddy can share notes or re-cap assignments if your child is at home and unsure how to proceed for an assignment.
  • Get a tutor if needed.
  • Encourage your child to get enough sleep.

Canadian Parents for French (Ontario) has produced a parent engagement video in English on how to support your child in French Second Language (FSL) programs, Kindergarten to Grade 8: Core French, Extended French and French Immersion.

How will the teacher communicate with my child in the early months of French Immersion?

Your child’s teacher will use visual aids, gestures, slower speech and modelling, among other things, to aid in language acquisition.

How will my child’s English and math skills compare with others?  

Our French Immersion students consistently score as well or better on the Provincial Achievement Tests administered at grades 3, 6 and 9 compared to their English counterparts. Many language learning skills can be transferred from French to English and serve to enhance the learning of English. Your child understands English and communicates in English outside the classroom. English vocabulary and speech patterns will continue to develop at a normal pace. Most skills and knowledge acquired in the French immersion classroom transfer readily to English.

A recent review of the research on immersion programs done by CPF from 1972 to 2001 concludes that “the effect of learning a second language on first-language skills has been positive in all studies done. Furthermore, the loss of instructional time in English in favour of the second language has never been shown to have negative effects on the achievement of the first language.” 1 In fact, a 1991 review of student outcomes research showed that although French immersion students sometimes lag behind at Grade 3, they match and often surpass English program students’ performance in English-language skills by Grade 4 or 5. These studies also found that French immersion students met or exceeded English program students’ performance in mathematics.

My child is in French Immersion and won’t speak French at home.  Is this normal?

Take the cue from your child.  If your child is uncomfortable speaking in French, rather, have your child showcase an assignment, or read aloud with you.  Encourage and praise all your child’s efforts.

What if my child has a learning disability?

Learning assistance is provided in French, as it would be in English. Should a learning disability be detected, the same strategies and procedures as in English are employed in French. A wide range of students with differing needs and abilities are participating and learning an additional language. Students receive a range of timely supports in French inside and outside of the classroom. Research shows that a wide variety of students can be successful in French Immersion. Diverse learning needs can be met in French Immersion programs through appropriate supports that meet all students’ needs. This can be accomplished with the support and understanding of educational consultants, specialists and other professionals who can contribute to the success of all students attending French Immersion programs.

Is transportation provided?

Transportation is offered solely to our French immersion students whose walking distance exceeds 1.6 km. Bus transportation is provided throughout the city. Your child will automatically be registered for bussing. For bussing routes and information, check out our website.