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  1. #1
    Euphoric !
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    French Immersion

    We have to make a decision about putting our daughter into French Immersion or not for her SK yr. What are people's thoughts? The school she currently goes to offers the French program so she wouldn't be switching. My concerns would be 1) We would not be able to help her with her school work 2) learning math and other complex concepts in another language 3) transitioning to an English high school down the road. Will she be lost once they are teaching concepts in English?

    My daughter is smart, has good verbal skills and is already reading. She can definitely handle it (her teacher also recommends she go in)...just not sure. Leaning towards it but thought I would see what others think.

  2. #2
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    We were in the same position many moons ago. I sooooo regret not putting them in Immersion. I felt we wouldn't be able to help with homework. But you know what, there's always a tutor or a friend who is in her school who speaks French and may be willing to help out even just 30 min. after school. French has become so important. More so where I live than the GTA but still important. Especially for the good jobs. No harm in trying it, especially when they are young. They just put my Granddaughter in a French school starting at grade 3 and she is doing absolutely fine. Good luck with your decision.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by torontokids View Post
    We have to make a decision about putting our daughter into French Immersion or not for her SK yr. What are people's thoughts? The school she currently goes to offers the French program so she wouldn't be switching. My concerns would be 1) We would not be able to help her with her school work 2) learning math and other complex concepts in another language 3) transitioning to an English high school down the road. Will she be lost once they are teaching concepts in English?

    My daughter is smart, has good verbal skills and is already reading. She can definitely handle it (her teacher also recommends she go in)...just not sure. Leaning towards it but thought I would see what others think.
    Having taught K-6...I found that if you opt NOT to do French immersion the class dynamics are VERY different as all the children with special needs and behavioral needs are in the English classes (the principal encourages these families to not have the those children in immersion as the children struggle more in a second language when they already have difficulties).

    Keep in mind that the large majority of families in the French immersion program do not know French at home so homework expectations take this into account.

    Such a hard decision...not looking forward to having ti make it myself in a few years!!!

  4. #4
    Euphoric !
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    Lee Bee- that is a very good point about the children with beh issues etc being in the same class, especially because she will be at a french school...I think I have been swayed!

  5. #5
    Euphoric ! bright sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torontokids View Post
    We have to make a decision about putting our daughter into French Immersion or not for her SK yr. What are people's thoughts? The school she currently goes to offers the French program so she wouldn't be switching. My concerns would be 1) We would not be able to help her with her school work 2) learning math and other complex concepts in another language 3) transitioning to an English high school down the road. Will she be lost once they are teaching concepts in English?

    My daughter is smart, has good verbal skills and is already reading. She can definitely handle it (her teacher also recommends she go in)...just not sure. Leaning towards it but thought I would see what others think.
    Are they not offering a parent information night? This usually helps to calm any fears around the very things you brought up.

    My daughter went into late French immersion grade 5 which is far more difficult a transition than early entry so I will answer each of your questions giving my experience and perspective.

    1) Helping with school work isn't an issue. By the time your daughter is bringing homework home of any kind, they would already be familiar with those aspects of the language and honestly require less help than an English student for the very reason you are worried about. A lot of parent's can't help, but in my experience I have never needed to help. Extra help is offered to French students and I know of a few different schools with Niagara and Halton public board who have an "extra help" recess and after school program that are optional and the student only uses it if necessary.

    2)learning anything in a new language seems daunting, but at such early entry into the program they wont be complex at all. Very very basic, and no doubt taught bilingually so the children will learn initially that way, even in French classes. They pick it up at this age very quickly and much easier than late entry students or adults. By the time things like math become complex, they won't have an issue with math. Honestly, the most difficult classes my daughter struggled with in Grade 6 were social studies due to so much listening involved. It took her some time to learn that skill as the FI curriculum is seriously lacking in conversational skills. Math will likely be one of the easiest subjects and if there are struggles it likely wont be a language issue, more of a problem that would be encountered regardless of the language it was taught in.

    3) You are in Toronto, so there should be a high school those kids go to that offers the French Immersion program in so it can continue should a parent like it to. Something else to remember is that Ontario French Immersion Curriculum only includes subjects Math, Science and Social Studies to be taught wholly in French....this is at least definitely true up until intermediate grades(7 &8) and although most schools I would imagine will use French in all subjects due to enriching the child's communication skills and understanding more, they are still taught a large amount in English so I don't think that's ever going to be an issue. If English is mother tongue, and her elementary is taught primarily in French then if anything, if she goes to an English High School with no French Immersion then she will find it incredibly easy.

    I wish my daughter had gone into early entry, but I am grateful that the grade 5 entry option came up and we were very lucky as it was only around for 2 years and then they scrapped it for Grade 1 entry only.

    I understand your concerns but I can assure you it's a great opportunity for most children, especially children who are academically inclined which sounds like your daughter.

    TO give another angle, my son is grade 7 and we opted not to send him. He is 2E and they can barely meet his needs so I'm not going to leave him vulnerable to another obstacle and add extra pressure. That being said, up until this year when our board moved all French immersion students into exclusive schools, my son and daughter were at the same school and the French presence was so strong that he is getting A's and B's in the language which nobody predicted but immersion is very different than just showing up to French class. I bet your daughter will do just fine and starting so young I've no doubt she will thrive

  6. #6
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    Go for it, my 2 boys go to a full French school. My husband speaks French so he helps with the homework. I'm so happy I gave my boys this opportunity!

  7. #7
    Euphoric ! bright sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee-Bee View Post
    Having taught K-6...I found that if you opt NOT to do French immersion the class dynamics are VERY different as all the children with special needs and behavioral needs are in the English classes (the principal encourages these families to not have the those children in immersion as the children struggle more in a second language when they already have difficulties).

    Keep in mind that the large majority of families in the French immersion program do not know French at home so homework expectations take this into account.

    Such a hard decision...not looking forward to having ti make it myself in a few years!!!
    I find that very interesting about the English class dynamic and it is so incredibly true. My sons class every year is so chaotic and is unbelievably high needs. I think it's a serious disservice to the children with any kind of special needs to be recommended to not go to FI. That is a reflection on the system in my opinion. That being said, I'm not negating the realities of the limited resources available to teachers to deal with Special Needs to begin with so I can't imagine there would be a whole lot to help with a second language program. It's not the kids fault though is it, yet they are the ones to pay the price. I actually wish I'd taken a risk and put my son in FI now seeing as he is very good with French, but I think in reality he may be good in this area now because he stayed in the English program but was immersed in French due to the school really pushing French on all the kids attending his school not just the FI students. His French teacher for the last 3 years in the English program is also a FI teacher so I'm sure she teaches it differently than a basic core French teacher would.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bright sparks View Post
    I find that very interesting about the English class dynamic and it is so incredibly true. My sons class every year is so chaotic and is unbelievably high needs. I think it's a serious disservice to the children with any kind of special needs to be recommended to not go to FI. That is a reflection on the system in my opinion. That being said, I'm not negating the realities of the limited resources available to teachers to deal with Special Needs to begin with so I can't imagine there would be a whole lot to help with a second language program. It's not the kids fault though is it, yet they are the ones to pay the price. I actually wish I'd taken a risk and put my son in FI now seeing as he is very good with French, but I think in reality he may be good in this area now because he stayed in the English program but was immersed in French due to the school really pushing French on all the kids attending his school not just the FI students. His French teacher for the last 3 years in the English program is also a FI teacher so I'm sure she teaches it differently than a basic core French teacher would.
    It is really unfortunate. Now, the parents get the final say as to which stream their child goes in. But, the school points out that the child gets the same resources whether in French or English and if they are already struggling then having all instruction in a second language can make it even harder for the child. The problem is you then (sometimes/often) end up with a higher concentration of higher needs students in the English classes so it is even harder to meet their needs.

    Anyways...I can't speak for all schools/classes but this was my observation supply teaching in numerous schools. Just something to factor in while making your decisions!

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