Is French immersion right for your child?
French immersion education has existed in Alberta since the ‘60s, and remains a sought-after option for many families. Multilingualism can be the key to opening doors for children, and into adulthood, as they reap the benefits of being fully fluent in a second, or even third language.
Calgary French & International School (CFIS) is a full immersion, International Baccalaureate and multilingual school where students are immersed in the French language as early as preschool. CFIS French immersion programming is designed for students whose parents do not speak French at home. Language skills are transferable, meaning parents who talk, read and write in their home language will be supporting a strong foundation for their child to learn French in school. Also, homework at CFIS is age-appropriate, so students can complete it with confidence independently.
There are several benefits to choosing a French immersion education for your child early on and to continue through high school. Young children’s brains are more flexible than adolescent and adult brains, allowing them to integrate new vocabulary much more seamlessly.
As a bonus, CFIS preschool and junior kindergarten programs are licensed under the Childcare Licensing Act in Alberta and allow all families with little ones to benefit from the current childcare grants and subsidies.
At CFIS, students in Grade 3 begin to expand their language skills with the addition of English Language Arts, and in Grade 4, Spanish Language Arts introduces them to a third language. This model continues through Grade 12, with all classes, aside from English and Spanish, being taught in French. This triad of language education, combined with global education and appreciation of other cultures through travel studies and learning with a diverse group of peers, allows CFIS students to explore and express themselves as multilingual learners, creates a greater appreciation for other cultures and opens doors for future opportunities — including post-secondary education, career opportunities and travel.
While six or seven years of immersion provides a solid multilingual foundation, the reality of language acquisition is that more exposure leads to greater fluency. Just as sixth graders have not yet mastered the entire complexity and nuance of their first language, they also have not yet had enough time to be truly fluent in a second language. Students who leave French immersion before the end of high school miss out on many years of exposure leading to richer vocabulary, higher-level conversations and frequent practice.
While there is no denying the practical advantages of a second language, there are a host of other, less tangible but more important benefits. Research shows that second language learning enhances focus, increases problem-solving skills, builds empathy and encourages openness to other cultures and ways of life.
Calgary French & International School, an independent French immersion school, is now accepting applications for preschool to Grade 12, as well as our new Embark early transitional immersion program for Grade 1 and 2. Please visit cfis.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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