School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)

French Immersion

Parent Information meetings and registration for French Immersion Programs

To find out more about French Immersion opportunities in our schools, or if you have questions about French Immersion, please contact District French Immersion Vice-Principal, Megan Weir at (250) 832-3741.

Typically each year, before the registration date, parent information meetings are held for those interested in enrolling their child in French Immersion.

Early immersion kindergarten registration for the following September opens on Wednesday, January 17th 2024. All registrations taken on this date are treated as equal so this eliminates the need for overnight line-ups. This is a change in practice necessitated by the switch to the MyEd BC student data management system.

Registrations received after this date, will be date/time stamped and treated on a first come, first served basis.

An information session for Early French Immersion will be held in early January at Bastion Elementary. Please contact Megan Weir or Bastion Elementary for further information.

Late French Immersion

The information/registration session for Late Immersion (Grade 6) is held in March, just before registration for the Late Immersion program at L’École Intermédiare Shuswap Middle. Contact SMS at (250) 832-6031 for further information.

If there are between 22 and 28 (1 class) or between 44 and 56 (2 classes) parents, including sibling registrants, at the March information session, all students will be automatically registered.  Therefore, it is essential to attend this meeting with your interested student.

If the numbers do not work out for either 1 or 2 classes, we will continue with registration at a later date. Registration dates and locations will be announced as soon as possible.

Information will be distributed to parents of all Grade 5 students regarding the late French immersion program and registration.

Please Note: Transportation to and from the French Immersion programs is the responsibility of the parent. It may be possible to ride the bus but it is not an absolute. Please contact the transportation department at (250) 804-7890 for further information.

Frequently asked questions about Early and Late French Immersion programs

What is French Immersion?

  • French Immersion is a Canadian made educational program in which a child whose first language is not French studies in French.
  • French Immersion began over 30 years ago in response to parental demand; research shows that it is the most effective way for a child to become functionally bilingual.
  • The level of proficiency in French will vary from child to child in the same way as performance in math-ematics, for example, will vary from child to child. Some students speak French making many mistakes while others might be mistaken for mother-tongue French speakers.
  • In British Columbia, Early French Immersion (EFI) starts in Kindergarten or Grade 1. Late French Immersion (LFI) usually starts in Grade 6.
  • In School District No. 83, Early Immersion was implemented in September 2003 and is housed at École Élémentaire Bastion Elementary.
  • Late Immersion was implemented in September 2004 and is housed at L’École Intermédiare Shuswap Middle School

Is French Immersion for everyone?

  • Immersion is suitable for children of all academic abilities. French Immersion may present an additional challenge to your child but it is not to be confused with a gifted program. It is a program developed for the specific purpose of giving Anglophone school children the opportunity to become bilingual, while still maintaining their English skills.

What are the goals of a French Immersion program?

  • To develop language skills enabling students to participate easily in French conversation.
  • To provide an insight into the French culture.
  • To take post secondary education with French as the language of instruction.
  • To gain employment using French as the work language.
  • To achieve skills in all subject areas equivalent to those in the English program.

How is French Immersion taught?

  • Students are taught the same curriculum as English students but the language of instruction is French.
  • At first, students have limited vocabulary so teachers concentrate on language. Later as language skills de-velop the smaller details are filled in.
  • The method used is very similar to that used in English as a Second Language classes, ie. a proven methodology.

What about the students’ academic achievements?

  • Research shows there is absolutely no detrimental effect on academic performance in any subject area despite learning in a new language.
  • Larger English vocabulary as French words are often similar to English words.
  • French Immersion students do better on average in all Foundation Skills Assessments; English reading, English writing and numeracy at all grade levels.

How does Late Immersion compare with Early French Immersion?

  • Late French Immersion is not a continuation of Early French Immersion. It is a separate program, offered in addition to Early Immersion, which provides an alternative final entry point for English students who want to become bilingual.
  • In Grade 8, the Early and Late Immersion students join together into one program. The two groups become academically cohesive during the secondary years.

Are all subjects taught in French?

  • In Early Immersion, Kindergarten to Gr. 2 or 3 receive 100% instruction in French. Gr. 3 or 4 to Gr. 7 have 80% instruction in French. In Gr. 8-10, 50-75% of instruction is in French, 25% in Gr.11 and 12.5% in Grade12.
  • In Late Immersion, Grades 6 and 7 are taught 80-100% in French. In Gr. 8-10, 50-75% of instruction is in French, 25% in Gr.11 and 12.5% in Grade12.

Will my child learn the same things as peers in the English program?

  • The French Immersion and English curricula are the same as specified by the Ministry of Education. The only difference between the two programs is the language of instruction.

What are the benefits of learning a second language?

  • Develops your child’s listening and learning skills as well as self-discipline.
  • Increases cognitive abilities, creating a more flexible thinker.
  • Enhances his/her knowledge of and ability to communicate in his/her first language.
  • Makes learning a third or fourth language much easier.

Why should I choose French Immersion for my child?

  • In addition to receiving a French Immersion dogwood diploma, graduates of a full Immersion program can expect increased appreciation of other languages and cultures, enhanced career potential, a greater facility for learning other languages as well as a more global view of Canada and the world.

For any questions regarding French Immersion programs, please contact :

  • District French Immersion Vice-Principal, Megan Weir (250) 832-3741