Western School Division operates a Kindergarten to Grade 8 French Immersion program located at Maple Leaf School from K to 4 and at École Morden Middle School from Grades 5 to 8. In 1990 the board of trustees approved an immersion program to run to the end of Grade 6. In 1995, it was reviewed, and a decision was made to take it to the end of Grade 8.
WHAT IS FRENCH IMMERSION?
French Immersion is a French Second Language Program offered by Western School Division at Maple Leaf and École Morden Middle School. The program goes from Kindergarten to Grade Eight. Students take all of their programming in the French language except for English Language Arts which is taken for one hour each day starting in Grade 1. As well, the physical education and music programs are taught in English language.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why would I, as a parent, enrol my child in a French Immersion program?
- Opportunity to learn a second language while becoming more proficient in English.
- To learn about another culture
- Having learned two languages, it is easier to learn more languages.
- To know two languages helps to provide more employment opportunities when older.
Is kindergarten the only entry point?
- Grade One is also a possibility, especially if a child needs extra challenge.
What happens if my child is not doing well in the immersion program?
- If a child is not adjusting well to the immersion program, he/she can be moved into the English stream. We do ask for a one year commitment - unless major problems emerge.
- Supports are available for all students, including immersion students - guidance, resource, speech, and psychological.
Will my child be behind in learning English?
- No. For a child progressing normally, by grade 3, there is no lag in English. The results of the Grade 3 standards tests in the past supported this in both math and English. In both subjects, test scores were significantly above provincial and divisional averages.
How do I help my child if I can't speak French?
- 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.
- Software is now available that will help.
- Teacher packages have been prepared that give student practice on cassette tapes.
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.
What if my family and I do not live in Western School Division?
Through "schools of choice legislation", you can enroll your child in the school that you choose. In fact, there is a transportation grant that is available that would help to defray costs of transportation if you live outside the division.
Will my child be isolated from his/her friends in the English program?
French Immersion students, take part in 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. In the seventh grade, exploratory courses are taken with English stream students and in the eighth grade, immersion students have the same options as the those taking English only. 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?
- Goes from Kindergarten to Grade 12 at this time.
- Gradually increasing in overall numbers each year.
- Morden Collegiate offers courses when requested by a sufficient number of students.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FRENCH IMMERSION PROGRAM
- For information packages, call Maple Leaf School at 822-4458, or École Morden Middle School at 822-6225
- Make arrangements to speak with any of the French Immersion teachers by calling at Maple Leaf at 822-4458 or EMMS at 822-6225.
- Call or set up an appointment to meet with principals, Mike Keith at Maple Leaf or Suzanne Powell at EMMS.
- Call the Maple Leaf or EMMS to make arrangements to visit a French Immersion class in action.