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How placing our children in French Immersion has impacted our family!

Any one of our three kids could easily write this blog in French.  But neither my husband nor I, who both took Core French all through high school, could do so even with a dictionary and a Bescherelle at our disposal.  The experience of our kids has been very different, and for this we are very thankful.  All three have been, or are currently in, Early French Immersion in Nova Scotia.  For them, interacting in French and understanding the French cultures of Canada seems natural. 

 Rachel is currently in first year university studying Political Science and International Development with French courses along the way. All of her previous French acquisition was through immersion classes at school and 2 weeks of CPF Nova Scotia summer camps. Learning French has literally opened the world to Rachel. The prize for winning the Nova Scotia Concours d’Art Oratoire in grade 9 was a week at Encounters With Canada -- a bilingual week in Ottawa where she learned about arts and culture alongside teenagers from across the country.  Her interest in language being kindled, she did an Independent Study credit in Spanish and then volunteered in Guatemala in the summer. This past year, based on her record high score on the B2 DELF French competency exam, she won a trip to Génération Bilingue in France along with 60 French 2nd language students from 32 different countries. She is certain that she will use her passion for French, and her enjoyment of other languages, as a major part of her life and vocation. 

 Nathan is in grade 10 and is also hoping to graduate with his high school French immersion certificate. He has won the Concours provincially 3 times. The prize for one of these years was a week at a CPF French camp. He chose a kayaking trip around L’ Île de la Madeleine and loved it. Every time Nathan gets up to speak in French, I remember our concerns about putting him in French immersion. He had a very difficult time learning to produce the sounds of the English language as a preschooler and needed a fair bit of speech therapy. However, he wanted to try French immersion like his sister so we agreed. Now, he speaks very well publically in both languages and apparently has a good French accent.  No one would guess his speech challenges as a young boy.  He can get lost in a French novel just as much as an English one. His future dreams currently involve engineering and music but he thinks that French is a “handy tool for life”.

 Samuel is in grade 8 and plans to continue French immersion throughout high school.  Last year, he went to Quebec for a week with some of the students from his school as part of the SEVEC exchange program.  I delighted in seeing him excitedly talk in French with Acadian and Quebecois kids, even though I couldn’t understand most of what was said. This past summer, he enjoyed a nautical CPF camp.  With both opportunities, he was pleased with how easy and natural it felt to speak and even to think in French.  He has had fun and done very well with both the Concours and Face aux Questions. He tells me that he thinks his French has helped him in other subjects and with learning new things in general.  Although math is his favorite subject, and I can see him pursuing a math or science career, he knows he will have occasion to use his French throughout his life. 

 We feel very blessed that our kids have been able to participate in early French immersion taught by superb, committed teachers.  We have been excited to watch them develop cultural interest, awareness and appreciation for French cultures and for other Canadian and world cultures.  Our kids’ communication skills have flourished in both English and French.  It is wonderful that our children have received the gift of a second language (and even my husband and I have picked up a few words from them over the years).  The whole family has been enriched by this shared experience.

 Catherine McNally

 

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Commentaires 6

Invité - Wendy Karstad le dimanche 2 novembre 2014 04:12

This is so good to hear. I also have only good things to say about having our boys go through in the French Immersion stream. We consider ourselves so fortunate to have had that option for them.

Our boys are in grades 12, 10 and 7 and have had opportunities that they would not have had without the opportunity to learn French as a second language

One of our earlier moments of seeing what an incredible opportunity it was was when we travelled to the east coast by car and when we were going through Quebec, around the Gaspe Peninsula and through New Brunswick there were many times when we relied on our boys' French to get us by... the two older boys were only finished Grade 4 and 2 at that point and yet they could give us the bit that we needed to order from the menu or ask for something etc.

It is always good to hear other peoples' encouraging story about what opportunities have opened up as a result of their children's exposure to learning an additional language.

I am also very excited to see the role that Canadian Parents for French has played in providing extra opportunities for them. When we were in Northern Saskatchewan, there were many extra curricular opportunities that were a direct result of CPF including weekend excursions, french performers and class trips to special events. I am now involved in the NWT Branch of CPF and I see the impact that the activities that we are involved in supporting have on the students that benefit from them.

We look forward to seeing what ways our boys will continue to use French in their lives, but I don't for a minute ever consider it not worth any extra effort that we had to make.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Wendy Karstad

This is so good to hear. I also have only good things to say about having our boys go through in the French Immersion stream. We consider ourselves so fortunate to have had that option for them. Our boys are in grades 12, 10 and 7 and have had opportunities that they would not have had without the opportunity to learn French as a second language One of our earlier moments of seeing what an incredible opportunity it was was when we travelled to the east coast by car and when we were going through Quebec, around the Gaspe Peninsula and through New Brunswick there were many times when we relied on our boys' French to get us by... the two older boys were only finished Grade 4 and 2 at that point and yet they could give us the bit that we needed to order from the menu or ask for something etc. It is always good to hear other peoples' encouraging story about what opportunities have opened up as a result of their children's exposure to learning an additional language. I am also very excited to see the role that Canadian Parents for French has played in providing extra opportunities for them. When we were in Northern Saskatchewan, there were many extra curricular opportunities that were a direct result of CPF including weekend excursions, french performers and class trips to special events. I am now involved in the NWT Branch of CPF and I see the impact that the activities that we are involved in supporting have on the students that benefit from them. We look forward to seeing what ways our boys will continue to use French in their lives, but I don't for a minute ever consider it not worth any extra effort that we had to make. Thanks so much for sharing. Wendy Karstad
Invité - Catherine McNally le vendredi 7 novembre 2014 18:01

Thank you very much for sharing your experience with French immersion. It is exciting to hear how the French immersion programs are making a difference in peoples' lives across the country.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience with French immersion. It is exciting to hear how the French immersion programs are making a difference in peoples' lives across the country.
Invité - Sharon McInnes le mercredi 5 novembre 2014 02:10

I am a product of French Immersion.
Oui, je me sens vraiment en même temps francophile et francophone. Mes deux fils étant inscrits dans le programme d'immersion au Manitoba, je me demandais pourquoi pas MOI ? Mon mari et moi, nous sommes devenus bilingues par nos propres efforts et par l'investissement de fonds, non pas par le système d'éducation publique. Pourquoi? If our kids could do this, by soaking up the French language, surely we could do it, too.
I began by volunteering in the French Immersion classrooms at École Tuxedo-Park in Winnipeg MB and then, having spent much time in courses at Le Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface, spent many more years teaching in immersion schools, as well as French first-language classrooms. I began as a fan of French Immersion and its goals and ended my professional career as a teacher of French.
My sons are long past their involvement in French Immersion education, but now, my grandchildren are in French Immersion, too.
Et maintenant, je me trouve dans la capacité de faire le tutorat des étudiants adults du français dans le militaire canadien.
Look how far we've come, from the first pioneer parents of children in the first immersion classes, to grandparents of the next generation. C'est à merveille.

I am a product of French Immersion. Oui, je me sens vraiment en même temps francophile et francophone. Mes deux fils étant inscrits dans le programme d'immersion au Manitoba, je me demandais pourquoi pas MOI ? Mon mari et moi, nous sommes devenus bilingues par nos propres efforts et par l'investissement de fonds, non pas par le système d'éducation publique. Pourquoi? If our kids could do this, by soaking up the French language, surely we could do it, too. I began by volunteering in the French Immersion classrooms at École Tuxedo-Park in Winnipeg MB and then, having spent much time in courses at Le Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface, spent many more years teaching in immersion schools, as well as French first-language classrooms. I began as a fan of French Immersion and its goals and ended my professional career as a teacher of French. My sons are long past their involvement in French Immersion education, but now, my grandchildren are in French Immersion, too. Et maintenant, je me trouve dans la capacité de faire le tutorat des étudiants adults du français dans le militaire canadien. Look how far we've come, from the first pioneer parents of children in the first immersion classes, to grandparents of the next generation. C'est à merveille.
Invité - Catherine McNally le vendredi 7 novembre 2014 18:04

It is wonderful to see how with dedication, French immersion can benefit the entire family.

It is wonderful to see how with dedication, French immersion can benefit the entire family.
Invité - Clermont le samedi 15 novembre 2014 02:13

Dear Catherine, Wendy, and Sharon,

As some one who has dedicated her entire career to French Immersion, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your amazing family stories on how French Immersion programs have impacted your families. From overcoming a speech difficulty, to getting your children’s assistance while traveling through "la belle province", or becoming yourself a teacher of French and feeling a francophone is absolutely astonishing! For a French Immersion educator to hear your stories is moving and extremely encouraging as we rarely see the impact of our efforts. Merci infiniment!

To continue your voyage in “la francophonie”, I invite you all to read our next blogger, a former French Immersion student, who discovered her francophone identify through French Immersion.

Josée Clermont

Dear Catherine, Wendy, and Sharon, As some one who has dedicated her entire career to French Immersion, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your amazing family stories on how French Immersion programs have impacted your families. From overcoming a speech difficulty, to getting your children’s assistance while traveling through "la belle province", or becoming yourself a teacher of French and feeling a francophone is absolutely astonishing! For a French Immersion educator to hear your stories is moving and extremely encouraging as we rarely see the impact of our efforts. Merci infiniment! To continue your voyage in “la francophonie”, I invite you all to read our next blogger, a former French Immersion student, who discovered her francophone identify through French Immersion. Josée Clermont
Invité - Julia DONIER le jeudi 8 février 2018 15:05

It's good to hear that French Immersion can offer such variable opportunities in a child's life and education. I found very interesting that you wrote about all the other benefits of Immersion in addition to grammar and French language itself.
Indeed, I think that languages' teachers in Immersion or in a "regular" class should not only teach how to speak a foreign language but also all the abilities provided by learning foreign languages such as cultural aspects, memorization, open-mindeness and communication. Of course, all those skills are amplified with immersion programs.

It's good to hear that French Immersion can offer such variable opportunities in a child's life and education. I found very interesting that you wrote about all the other benefits of Immersion in addition to grammar and French language itself. Indeed, I think that languages' teachers in Immersion or in a "regular" class should not only teach how to speak a foreign language but also all the abilities provided by learning foreign languages such as cultural aspects, memorization, open-mindeness and communication. Of course, all those skills are amplified with immersion programs.
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