Western School Division operates a Kindergarten to Grade 12 French Immersion program located at Maple Leaf School (K to 4), École Morden Middle School (Grades 5 to 8), and Morden Collegiate Institute (Grades 9 to 12). In 1990, the board of trustees approved an immersion program to run to the end of Grade 6. In 1995, after a review, a decision was made to continue the program to the end of Grade 8. Presently, at Morden Collegiate we offer Français as well as a variety of courses to permit students to graduate with the French Immersion diploma by 2020.
WHAT IS FRENCH IMMERSION?
French Immersion is a program designed for children to learn to speak, read, write and study in French. Students in this program, at Western School Division, begin English Language Arts in grade 1. There are no entrance requirements and the program is open to everyone. Students typically begin French Immersion in Kindergarten.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why would I, as a parent, enrol my child in a French Immersion program?
- To learn an additional language while becoming more proficient in English
- To learn about another culture
- To connect with people all over the world
- Learning an additional language improves the working memory
- Knowing two languages, it is easier to learn more languages
- Knowing multiple languages helps to provide more opportunities
Is Kindergarten the only entry point?
- Grade 1 is also a possibility.
- At this time, we do not have late entry points.
What happens if my child is not doing well in the immersion program?
- Supports are available for all students, including immersion students.
- Research shows that students with a variety of challenges will do as well academically as they would in an English language program, so long as they receive support and assistance.
- We understand that children learn at different rates and in different ways regardless of the program.
- Children with specific speech, hearing, or other difficulties may experience challenges, but we expect that every child can benefit from the French Immersion program.
Will my child be behind in learning English?
- Research findings pertaining to the English skills of French immersion students indicate that after an initial lag lasting until a year or two after English language arts is introduced, early French immersion students perform as well in English or better than their English Program counterparts*. Learning to read in English and in French allows students to benefit from the links that exist between the two languages and provides students with added exposure to literacy thus mutually reinforcing literacy skills in both languages.
* Adapted from: Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth, French Immersion in Manitoba: A Handbook for School Leaders, Winnipeg, MECY, 2007, p. 2-7.
How do I help my child if I can't speak French?
- The French Immersion Program is designed for families who do not speak French.
- Show encouragement, confidence, and pride.
- Help your child with the English part. Read to them in English, have them read to you in English, and have them write in English.
- Have them read to you in French and celebrate their effort.
- Use technology and other suggestions from the school staff.
- Take part in cultural activities in the surrounding communities.
If I live in the southwest part of Morden, will I have to drive my child to school?
Busing is provided for all students who live more than 1.6 km from school. These students are eligible for transportation to École Morden Middle School and to Maple Leaf School.
What if my family and I do not live in Western School Division?
According to Manitoba Education and Training:
The School of Choice initiative does not apply to students who attend a school other than their designated school, because the recognized program of study they wish to access is not offered by the school division/district of which they are resident. Students in this category are covered under Sub-section 41(5) of The Public Schools Act (Programs not offered locally) and associated regulation and policy.
If a student wishes to attend a school in a school division/district other than the home school division, please fill out, sign and submit four copies of a School of Choice Out-of Division/District application form to the potential “receiving" school no later than May 15. Here is the link. https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/schools/choice/
Will my child be isolated from his/her friends in the English program?
French Immersion students take part in entire school, as well as divisional activities such as track and field days and are involved with other students in concerts. The students have assemblies together, share the same recesses and noon hours, and take choir classes with their English counterparts. Classes are encouraged to organize cross-graded as well as cross-program buddy reading and other Language Arts related activities. In the seventh grade, exploratory courses are taken with English stream students and in the eighth grade, immersion students have the same options as those in the English stream. All students have the opportunity to take part in any extra-curricular activities, whether they occur at noon or after school.
What is the future of French Immersion in Western School Division?
- We are gradually increasing in overall numbers each year.
- We offer Kindergarten to grade 12 with the opportunity to receive the French Immersion diploma provided a sufficient number of students request to opt into the French language courses.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FRENCH IMMERSION PROGRAM
For information packages, call Maple Leaf School at 204-822-4458, École Morden Middle School at 204-822-6225, or Morden Collegiate Institute 204-822-4425.
- Make arrangements to speak with our French Language Coordinator by calling the Division Office at 204-822-4448.
- Make arrangements to speak with any of the French Immersion teachers by calling at Maple Leaf at 204-822-4458, École Morden Middle School at 204-822-6225, or Morden Collegiate Institute at 204-822-4425.
- Call or set up an appointment to meet with principals at Maple Leaf School, at École Morden Middle School, or at Morden Collegiate Institute.
- Make arrangements to visit a French Immersion class in action.
Canadian Parents for French https://mb.cpf.ca/
Manitoba Education and Training http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/cur/fr_imm_pr.html