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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may be a long shot as I am in Canada, and I know that most of you are in the States, but I was wondering if there are any Canadian moms on the boards whose child goes to a full-time French Immersion program...<br><br>
I'm finding it difficult to connect with others (on the net) whose child in being educated French.<br><br>
I tried doing a search on French Immersion and came up with a few posts by a mom here -- the member name escapes me at the moment <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:<br><br>
I would love to chat with any of you about the FI program here in Canada. My dd is 7 and in grade 2. We live in Ontario.<br><br>
Thanks,<br><br>
Nancy
 

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Hi there! I'm probably the mom you found when you did the search. My dd is in Gr 4, and I have a ds in SK at an English school. He'll go to FI Gr 1 next year.<br><br>
I am a big fan of FI. It works well for my daughter. You can ask me questions if you'd like.<br><br>
If you do a Google search for Canadian Parents For French, you might get more information. They have a website, but I doubt they have a discussion board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh, hi there! I think it was you!<br><br>
How was your dd's first day of school?<br><br>
Well my dd is in a 2/3 split this year. I must say that I'm pleasantly surprised. I didn't think that they have split classes in FI. I'm glad that she'll be exposed to children who have a year more of French under their belt. I met the teacher. She seems really nice, down to earth - kinda cool, actually. She has 11 years of teaching FI 4 and 5 grade in the Cath. board, but is now in the public board teaching primary grades.<br><br>
She sent home quite a list! The kids are going to have a weekly dictation to study for in addition to their regular homework. The homework and everything is given at the beginning of the week and is due on Friday. She suggests that the children read aloud in French and English every night. It's not required, just suggested.<br><br>
She also gave a list of supplies that need to brought to class (pencils, pencil crayons, makers, ruler, duotangs, etc., etc.)<br><br>
There is a strong academic element to the school regardless of whether the child in in FI or English, however the children do have fun! There are clubs that the children can join for fun too. They have phys. ed. 4 times a weeks, so they are getting excericise. The children go outside, weather permitting.<br><br>
What types of things are going to be going on with your grade 4 dd this year? Isn't this the year where English gets reintroduced (for lack of a better way of phrasing it).<br><br>
Nancy
 

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Actually, like other schools in Ontario, FI schools now often have split classes in order to spread out the child<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/teapot2.GIF" style="border:0px solid;" title="tea">cher ratio between levels. The school average is supposed to be 25:1, but parents, teachers, and kids get pretty cranky if the ratio is 32:1 in Grade 3, and 22:1 in Grade 2. I agree, though, that for some children the split gives them enhanced learning opportunities.<br><br>
By being with Grade 3, your daughter may have a pretty big year in terms of academics. They have EQAO testing for Grade 3's, and some teachers make a big deal about it.<br><br>
As for dd in Grade 4, she is entering a new phase of learning. I haven't seen anything about homework yet, after 2 days, and no list of things required. I am wondering if her teacher is doing this deliberately so that the children have to take responsibility for figuring out what homework they have and getting it written in their agendas. (My daughter really needs to start looking after more things for herself, and I have to work on letting her make more mistakes.) I thought I'd send the teacher a box of Kleenex, though, since they always seem to be running low on that!<br><br>
The teacher is reading a Roald Dahl book to the children for their English now. Apparently the big thing that they learn about in Grade 4 English is writing book reports (proto-essays). I'll be fascinated to see how this all unfolds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's taken me a while to get back to this thread, sorry. Dh just left with dd for school (first bell at 8:05 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"> , O Canada at 8:10). The babies are asleep. So it's puter time for me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/caffix.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="coffee"><br><br>
Well, I haven't seen anything come home yet for the dictee so at least her teacher isn't rushing into things. My dd has been bringing home leftover classwork, little colouring assignments etc.<br><br>
So what is this testing...I didn't really pay much attention during all the hoopla when they were bringing it in...<br><br>
In Mastermind toy/educational store I've seen preperatory workborks for the students and such. Is this THAT big of a deal? What subjects, math and reading??? I'm wondering how this works for the FI students. I'd really like to hear your personal experience with the testing, if you don't mind.<br><br>
Has your dc ever been in a portable? My dd is and I am none to pleased but, what can you do? <sigh><br><br>
Kind of OT - It's been chilly in my part of the country! I never know how to dress my girl! It's cold in the morning and warm by the afternoon, lol...I sent her in a skort today <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Have a good one!
 

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EQAO is a standardized testing put in place by Mike Harris and the gang about five years ago. Children in Grades 3 and 6 are supposed to write a math and literacy test. At dd's FI school, the Grade 3's do only math, and the test is in French. By Grade 6, they do both tests, but I am not sure which language they do it in. I think standardized testing is a rotten way to measure student progress, so dd didn't attend school last spring when her class was writing the test. Both the teachers and the administration at her school were very supportive of this action, and many parents thought we were doing the right thing, but in the end, she was the only one who didn't write. I thought the school board might get in touch with me about her absence, but I have heard nothing at all, so I guess they have more important things to worry about. On the other hand, the test results are still not available to anyone (the test was written in May) so no one may realize that she was away.<br><br>
If you want to visit the EQAO website, you can get more of the government's philosophy on standardized testing, and if you want to read an interesting oposing view, read and an American book by Grace LLewellyn called "Guerilla Learning". The ETFO may also have information on their website.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, I guess I have a lot to think about with regards to this testing...so you have a choice not to let your child sit for the test? I mean, of course, your child can be conveniently absent that day, but will your child be penalized some how?<br><br>
I will definitely have to research this more. I just looked at the district school boards website and just found out that our school performed above board and government standards...I don't know whether or not to be happy or scared about that. Seems like a heck of a lot of pressure. Apparently, they have an "action plan" so as to prepare the students for the test. I'll have to look into this for sure.<br><br>
Thanks for the heads up. I appreciate your taking the time to respond.<br><br>
I only have 1 friend IRL who believes in FI and she's in Toronto, her dd just started SK (that's when they start FI). Everyone else, can't understand why we would want to send her to French school. Um, hello? Last time I checked this was Canada a billingual nation, LOL<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Actually, the test is mandatory. They just didn't do anything about it when my dd didn't show up through the exam week. Does this make sense? Not even "common sense"! (A joke that only an Ontarion will get... to those of you who don't live here, I apologize.) Each school can schedule the test as they see fit. It could take 4 days or it could take up to 3 weeks, depending on the school.<br><br>
At my friend's ds's school, there was a lot of pressure to have her ds at school for the testing, even though he was sick. It depends on the school and the particular characters involved.<br><br>
We have a lot of support for dd being in FI because dh's niece went and had a great time. Also my brother's wife went to French school in Toronto, so she was very supportive and always takes time to speak French to dd. One thing that would give me pause is the amount of bus-riding time that some kids have. One of dd's friends rides the bus for about 1.5 hours a day, which I think is excessive. We can walk to the FI school in five minutes, so we have it made. Also, in some rural communities there are FI teachers who are not fully bilingual, which was a reason for my SIL to decide to put her kids into English school rather than an inadequate FI program. On the other hand, I've made a lot of friends throught the FI school community, and my dd has as well. It has strengthened my conviction that FI is a good choice for our family now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So far I've found out that the grade 3's only write the math portion (FI students), which is good I suppose. DD doesn't mind tests because she doesn't quite the significance people can place on them, so I don't know if she'd be bothered by writing it. Of course dd is only in grade 2, but I'm just wondering how this will all pan out considering that the class is 2/3 split.<br><br>
I totally know what you mean about the bus riding situation...my friend dd ( the ones in T.O.) is in SK. She finishes school at 3:30 and doesn't get home until something like 4:30 or 4:45 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!">
 

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Hello fellow Ontarians! Can I pick your experienced FI brains?<br><br>
My son will be going into JK next September so I am still pondering all our choices. I have to admit I have not been really considering FI. I just figure why put all this emphasis on French so early? I want my son to love school (I didn't) and learning (I do) and I worry that throwing a new language at him for the first time at the same time as such a huge thing as school could jeopardise this. I figure if he shows a real interest in French he can take extra curricular classes, etc. I just went to English school with french classes grade 5 to 13 but did a French immersion program after high school because I was really interested in french. If I had more opportunity to parlez I'd be fluent.<br><br>
In my perfect world french instruction in English schools would be so good there would be no need for FI. Swedish kids take English from grade 1 and most Swedish adults are bi-lingual if not tri-lingual. It seems like french instruction gets the short end of the stick in Ontario because FI exists.<br><br>
Any thoughts? I'm not trying to be a sh!t disturber, honest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, where I live FI doesn't start until Grade 1 so, most kids have had JK and SK to get used to school, and such. When dd was in SK, her teacher sent home a pamphlet about FI with info on an information night. I really hadn't given it serious thought until then. Once I researched it I decided to send her to FI. Mind, you the whole summer before school started I went back and forth in my mind (while presenting a very confident front to the naysayers, lol). As it turned out my DD did VERY well, as her SK teacher had predicted. DD got straight As last year! (well actually she got a B in phys ed).<br><br>
I think during the Kindergarten years you can sort of see how your child does...it is a case by case thing. French Immersion is not for everyone. My friend has two children. Her eldest is the same age as my dd, has some behavioural problems and learning difficulites, obviously FI was not for him. Her DD who is 5 just started FI. She's in SK. She on the other hand is very good with language.<br><br>
You really have to take it on a child by child basis.<br><br>
Also, I wanted to add that my dd love school and always has. She was bored most of the time in SK. She was already reading fluently. Taking her subjects in French now, provide her with that extra challenge that she needs to keep from getting "bored".
 

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I second the opinion that FI gives the children something to think about even when they're learning about something they already know. It makes things a bit more level among the children in a class. A friend's child has learned a lot about numbers and is now beginning Grade One. He's enjoying learning to count in French. If he were learning something that simple in English school, he'd be bored and grumpy.<br><br>
For my kids, a real benefit is that Grade 1 in FI really emphasizes oral communication. Not much time is spent on writing. That means that my children, who don't really like spending time with pencils, have a little extra time to mature.<br><br>
One criticism that I have is that the children don't seem to do many creative things with language in my dd's FI school. I wish they could spend some time writing poetry and stories, but their French is not that good, and they don't have English classes until Grade 4. I have discussed this with some friends whose kids go to English ps, though, and they have snorted. Their kids don't spend any time on poetry or creative writing, either. I'm getting the idea that if you want those fancy schmancy things, don't send your child to ps in Ontario these days! (Have you guessed yet that I won't be voting PC on October 2nd?)<br><br>
I'd probably homeschool if we didn't have the FI school in our neighbourhood. As it is, I still feel we need to supplement the school's education process with a lot of interesting extras. I like the community of families that use the school. It takes a concerted decision to send your child to FI (or any alternative program in education, like special arts or science schools or homeschool) so I feel like more parents want to be involved in the school.<br><br><br>
Liz, in some areas there are different times that kids can enter FI. Middle immersion is started in Grade 4 or Grade 7, so children who are not ready have another chance to start the FI process. I like that idea. In our area, FI starts in Grade 1 and if you don't go then, you don't go at all.
 

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Thank you thank you thank you! I really had never thought of it that way: the French adding an extra degree of difficulty that challenges all the kids. I've realised that I got off on the wrong foot in school because I was very good at reading and spelling so I got bored and lazy. Then when things got tougher later on (math) I had bad work habits and couldn't keep up. This is really a breakthrough for me! I'm going to check out the local FI school. I am concerned about the lack of creative curriculum (the school I've been leaning towards is an alternative school with lots of creative stuff going on) but I'll go for a tour and see what they are up to.. Thank you again for your insights!
 

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Hello !<br><br>
We moved from France to Cypress, TX 4 years ago and my son is in 4th grade (us public school). It was challenging at first because he couldn't speak any English ! (kindergarten) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/oops.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="oops"><br>
I'm teaching him French at home every evening to keep in touch with the French system.<br>
I wanted him to go to the international school but the cost was<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"><br><br>
Is there anybody here who can speak French at all ? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"><br><br>
Bye bye... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wave.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wave">
 

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Okay, Liz, now that I've done the sales job, here are a few other things to consider:<br><br>
Around here (northern GTA) the FI schools do not offer remedial education or any special services in the schools for kids who need anything from a little extra help in a particular course to those who need a special program, like and IEP (individualized education program). For anything like that the student must leave FI and go to English school. Some kids don't end up leaving until after 3rd grade, and that is a bit traumatic for them. Even for children who leave after a few days, there is the stigma of having failed in the FI system. (In the eyes of many parents with kids in FI, transferring to the English school is seen as a failure, and they are quite unpleasant about it.)<br><br>
Another thing that can get a student, or a parent, down is that there is no way to leave the system temporarily. Last year dd had a pretty poor teacher, and if dd had gone to English school, I'd have kept her home, let her learn the curriculum(sp?) herself, and delivered her back to school for Grade 4. In FI, they would have said that she couldn't return because she hadn't maintained her studies in French. It upsets me at times, because I want to have both for my child: flexibility and rigour. I can't, at least not in the way the system is configured.
 

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Well, I had dinner last night with friends whose son just started SK in FI (I'm getting these acronyms down!). The mother was quite hesitant about FI because she worried that if it didn't work out in a few years their son would be behind when transferred to an english school. She was hoping that they would have a pretty good idea how it was going by the end of this year and if he had to transfer at that point it wouldn't be a big deal. The father was the big FI booster. He said that learning a second language somehow opens up the brain to take in the other curriculum better. I'm not quoting him directly but I think that was the jist of it. I've heard that teaching non-arts related curriculum through the arts (eg. music + math) has proven very successful and being a creative person it makes sense to me but I hadn't heard anything about language learning having the same effect. Ever hear about that theory?
 

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I think that anytime a person has to think about something from a different perspective, that is good. That means that in learning a new language, you also learn a new culture, and so you learn about a new way of thinking about things. Living in southern Ontario, in the shadow of the America, we live mostly like Americans. I'd like my kids to know about other ways of life.<br><br>
I haven't heard this theory that learning a second language opens one up to rest of the curriculum better. It sounds a bit dubious. I have heard (and seen demonstrated in my daughter) that learning a second language in childhood is virtually effortless, so FI is an ideal opportunity for learning that second, very beautiful, language. That is enough reason for me, but for other families, that reasoning doesn't work.<br><br>
One comment that I have had from a teacher working in FI is that FI attracts children who are a little more scholarly. She didn't put her own children into FI because they were more interested in other things in their own lives (she has alluded to sports, mainly, but I think also church activities). What I'm trying to say is that you have to look at your own child, and his interests, strengths, and weaknesses, and then decide what would work best. What works for my children won't necessarily work for your son.
 

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We too are struggling with where to send our daughter next year for JK. We are now looking at Hawthorne (in Toronto) which is a Bilingual Alternative School. My family is Francophone, but neither my partner or I are currently bilingual, so French language school didn't seem like the right option. French Immersion, while the French met our needs, the "conventional" school part kinda freaked us out. With Hawthorne, there isn't as much French as in FI, but the Alternative part appeals to us (very kid positive, focussed on parent involvement, etc). Does anyone have any insights on possible downfalls of this?? We are still debating and checking schools out.<br><br>
Thanks,<br><br>
Jenn
 

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Hi, Mamajenn, I'm considering an alternative school, too, but it's english (ALPHA) so I can't comment on the french/alternative combo. I'd love to hear about Hawthorne though.<br><br>
Since this thread died off (thanks for resurrecting it!) I heard there was an article in the Globe and Mail about french immersion. Anybody read it? My computer crashes if I try to log on to the Globe site (probably not a capitalist plot just a Mac vs PC problem <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ).
 
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