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French as a Second Language Programs

Oui, je parle français!

The French Immersion program is an optional program offered to students in Early Learning Kindergarten (ELKP) to Grade 8 within the Board. It is designed for children who do not speak French at home. Any parent/guardian who desires his/her child to study in French may enrol his/her child in the French Immersion program. 

The Importance of Learning French 

The ability to speak and understand French allows students to communicate with French-speaking people in Canada and around the world, to understand and appreciate the history and evolution of their cultures, and to develop and benefit from a competitive advantage in the workforce. 

While the knowledge of any language has value, French is not only a global language, but the mother tongue of many Canadians and an integral part of the Canadian identity. Learning French equips students with the ability to communicate with French-speaking Canadians and millions of French speakers around the world. 

In addition to strengthening students’ ability to communicate, learning another language develops their awareness of how language and culture interconnect, helping them appreciate and respect the diversity of Canadian and global societies. When a student is exposed to another culture through its language, he or she begins to understand the role that language plays in making connections with others. Learning an additional language not only challenges a mind, it also teaches understanding, encourages patience, and fosters open-mindedness.

Vision and Goals of our FSL Programs 

The Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board offers two different French Programs at the Elementary level- Core French and French Immersion and two French programs at the Secondary level- Core French and Extended French. Each of these programs differs in intensity but share a common purpose: To develop student’s communication skills in the French language. 

The programs teach students to listen, speak, read, and write in French through real-world language opportunities. French as a Second Language also promotes the use of language learning strategies, goal setting and an appreciation of French culture in Canada and in other regions of the world. 

Our FSL Programming is guided by the three core priorities set out in A Framework for French as a Second Language in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 1-12

• Increase student confidence, proficiency, and achievement in French as a Second Language (FSL) 

• Increase the percentage of students studying FSL until graduation 

• Increase student, educator, parent, and community engagement in FSL 

These core priorities are at the forefront of our Board commitment to FSL that envisions: 

“All students communicating and interacting with growing confidence in French.” 

FSL Framework 

  • “A considerable body of research shows that second-language learning provides significant cognitive and academic benefits. It is known to enhance first-language and overall literacy skills and to provide a foundation for the learning of additional languages. There is also evidence that learning another language can help in the development of interpersonal and social skills.”

French Teaching Opportunities 

Are you interested in joining our FSL Team? We would like to hear from you! 

Why teach French in our Board? 

  • We offer vibrant Core and French Immersion Programs 
  • Our Core French program begins in Grade 1 where students have early exposure to language that helps them become more confident and proficient 
  • Our French Immersion program begins in Kindergarten Year 1 
  • We have 5 Dual Track schools that offer French Immersion programming 
  • Four of these Dual Track schools are increasing a class each year until students reach Grade 8 
  • Teachers are supplied with current and relevant resources that meet the curriculum expectations and support students as they build confidence with proficiency with listening, speaking, reading, and writing in French 
  • Our FSL educators are passionate about language teaching and work collaboratively to share best practices 

Interested in learning more about joining our team? 

Please contact our Human Resources Coordinator: hr@bhncdsb.ca 

Elementary Core French 

Primary Core French 

  • At the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board, we offer Core French beginning in Grade 1 for our primary students. 
  •  Early introduction and increased exposure to the language help our students to become more confident and proficient in French. 
  •  Students receive 200 minutes a week of French literacy instruction with a focus on using the language to communicate for authentic purposes. (50 min/4 days a week) 
  •  Using gestures, visuals, songs, repetition, and games, students learn to understand and speak in French using the language spontaneously with their peers. 
  • The AIM methodology is used by FSL teachers to reinforce French vocabulary and expressions. Teachers use gestures and strategies that support early language learning. 

Junior and Intermediate Core French 

  • Core French is mandatory for all students in English-language elementary schools in Grades 4 to 8. 
  • Students receive 200 minutes of French instruction per week and must have accumulated a minimum of 600 hours by the end of Grade 8.
  • The goal of this program is to develop basic communication skills in French so that students can interact in authentic real-life situations. 
  • The program also develops students’ appreciation of French culture in Canada and in other parts of the world. 
  • Learning activities focus on listening, speaking, reading, and writing in French to become more confident and proficient in French. 

Cultural Experiences and Activities 

  • Students learn about the Francophone culture through lessons and activities within and outside the classroom. 

Students have opportunities to learn about culture through the following experiences: 

  • French concerts; 
  • French plays and productions; 
  • French Carnaval events; 
  • Mardi Gras celebrations; 
  • Chef à l’école 
  • Au Café 
  • Jay Bailey Voyageur visits  
  • FSL teachers apply for cultural funding to help support these activities. (Teachers are currently planning creative cultural opportunities for students while being conscientious and adhering to Covid-19 guidelines)

Elementary French Immersion 

French Immersion Program and Language of Instruction 

French Immersion Dual Track Schools in BHNCDSB 

French Immersion Kindergarten Registration 

French Immersion: Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I register my child for French Immersion?

What if I do not speak French?

The French Immersion program is designed for families of students who do not speak French. School communication is sent home in English and many resources are available to support students’ French language learning journey from home. 

A child can still be successful in the FI program even when parents do not speak French. Our French programs are designed for children of non-French speaking parents. For useful information and links on how you can help your child from home if you don't speak French. 

What if English is not our first language? 

Evidence indicates that English Language Learners enrolled in French Immersion perform as well as their Anglophone counterparts, and ELL students who come to French Immersion having already developed literacy in their home language often perform even better than Anglophone students (Canadian Council on Learning, 2007). 

Will my child’s English skills suffer in a French Immersion Program? 

This question has been studied extensively in Canada and abroad. The conclusion is: knowledge of another language is beneficial in improving capabilities in the first language and increases the ability to learn a third and fourth language. 

A recent study of the EQAO reading, writing and mathematics assessment conducted in English revealed that at grade 6 “immersion students outperformed those in the regular program in all skill areas.

How can I support my child? 

Parents can play an important role in ensuring their child’s success by: 

  • Showing an interest in their child’s progress. 
  • Encouraging and supporting their child’s efforts. 
  • Reading to their child regularly and listening to him/her read aloud. 
  • Finding ways to expose their child to French outside of school time. 
  • Listening to children’s music by French artists. 
  • Visiting French communities in Ontario and Quebec. 
  • Communicating your questions, suggestions, and concerns with teachers. 

Even if you do not speak or understand French, you can discuss your child’s work with them, communicate regularly with the teacher and read to them in English or in their mother tongue. 

How can I help my child with French homework if I do not speak French? 

There does not need to be French language support at home for the child to complete the work. The French as a Second Language Homework Toolbox/Trousse pour les devoirs is a resource that many parents find helpful. This site supports parents who have children in a French Immersion program and wish to assist them with their homework. Homework is an extension of the work begun in class. Students having trouble with homework should consult their classroom teacher. 

Will my child be getting the same program as he/she would in an English class? 

Yes. French Immersion programs follow the Ontario Curriculum that is mandated by the Ministry of Education and Training. Reporting of student progress is the same in immersion programs as it is in English programs and students in French Immersion receive the Ontario Provincial Report Card with the language of instruction indicated beside subject areas. 

To ensure student achievement, students in French Immersion participate in annual provincial EQAO assessments along with English program students. 

When do French Immersion students begin English instruction? 

In Grade 1, students receive 200 minutes of English language instruction each week. 

What if my child experiences difficulties in the French Immersion Program? 

The first step would be to discuss challenges with the child’s teacher. In turn, the teacher can work with his or her school team, as necessary, to ensure support for each student. Early intervention strategies are important. Communication between the teacher and the parents are very beneficial to develop a plan for classroom and home support. 

Where is the French Immersion program offered? 

Is transportation available for my child to get to a French Immersion school? 

Transportation will be provided for students meeting the Board’s eligibility requirements as per the Transportation of Students Policy 400.19. Courtesy transportation to a French Immersion site may be provided to siblings, not enrolled in the FI Program, if all the conditions of Courtesy Transportation, as detailed in Student Transportation Services Policy #017 are met. Courtesy transportation is not guaranteed and is reviewed annually. 

Secondary Core and Extended French 

Core French 

  • At the secondary level, Core French is a single credit course (110 hours) and is offered at all levels from grades 9 to 12. In keeping with Ministry of Education requirements, French is compulsory in grade 9. 
  • We offer Open, Modified, Applied, Academic French courses depending upon student enrollment. 
  • Students can take French courses throughout Grades 9 to12. 
  • Students can receive a French Certificate at Graduation upon completion of 4 French credits

Extended French 

  • Extended French is currently offered at Holy Trinity. 
  • It is intended for student who have completed 1260 hours of French instruction or equivalent. 
  • Students will complete four Extended French credits and three additional credits that are taught in French. 
  • Plans to add Extended French course at Assumption College High School in September 2021. 

French Club 

  • All the high schools offer a vibrant French club. 
  • Students meet regularly to have the opportunity to practice their French and learn more about French culture. 
  • All three French clubs meet annually for a special ‘Club Français’ dinner (Current plans are on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions)

Travel Opportunities 

  • FSL students can travel to Quebec City to experience the Winter Carnival (Assumption College High School and Holy Trinity). 
  • A bi-annual trip to France and Italy is offered to Grade 11 and 12 FSL students at St. John’s College High School and Assumption College High School. 
  • All travel opportunities subject to Public Health recommendations and Board approval. 

Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF)

The DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) is a certification of French Language abilities for non-native speakers of French. It is composed of four independent diplomas corresponding to the first four levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR): A1, A2, B1 and B2. The “DELF is aimed at secondary-school aged students. DELF certificates are valid for life and do not expire”. 

The DELF examination consists of 4 parts: 

  • Listening 
  • Reading 
  • Writing 
  • Speaking 

The DELF examination is based upon the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages/Cadre européen commun de référence pour les langues or CECR, in French). The CEFR is an international standard for describing language ability. It is used around the world to describe learners’ language skills. 

DELF exams for Spring 2021 are pending and information will be shared as soon as it becomes available.

French as a Second Language for All 

Including Students with Special Education Needs in FSL Programs 

Welcoming English Language Learners into FSL Programs 

Key Messages in the French Immersion Program 

Parent Resources to Help Support my Child in French as a Second Language 

Homework Support for Core and Immersion Elementary Students