French Immersion program to start at Assiniboia Park Elementary School

L'inscription de vos enfants en immersion française peut mener au succès.

The Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division has hired a French language consultant to help prepare Assiniboia Park Elementary School for a French immersion program, which will start in the fall of 2021. Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2 students will have the opportunity to enroll in the program for the first year. Southeast Cornerstone will add a grade level to the program each year.

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“The school division is also in the process of hiring a French immersion teacher for the upcoming school year. We are also working closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure that we have all of the supports in place to begin this program in September,” said Dan Manning, principal at Assiniboia Park Elementary School.

Lori Meyer who has been hired as a French language consultant. “Lori has a great deal of experience and knowledge with French Immersion and she has been a tremendous support already,” said Manning.

A dual track education system will be introduced at Assiniboia Park Elementary, where students have the opportunity to learn in either of our two official languages from staff that are fluent in either English or French.

“French Immersion students will be expected to speak French when they are with the other French students and/or their French teacher.  At the same time all other classrooms will continue instruction in English.  So we will have a dual track, or two language offerings, at APES.  The English language classes will continue as in previous years,” explained Manning.

The French Immersion Program is designed for students whose parents do not speak French. “Since students learn to read and write in French in Grades 1 and 2, parents should expect that they will bring home books to read in French. Rest assured, there are lots of pictures for you to look at as your child reads to you,” said Manning.

Parents have already expressed concern that theirchild’s English skills might suffer. Manning explained that “the majority of households in our community conduct their daily lives in English, whether it’s watching TV, listening to music, reading or through conversation.”

“The French Immersion program introduces English to the students in Grade 3. The philosophy behind immersion is to focus on the correct pronunciation and use of the French language beginning in kindergarten and continuing until the end of Grade 2. The teacher models spoken and written French for the students to mimic, commit to memory then practice for the first three years. It is easiest to learn a second language at an early age through immersion.”

All students in Weyburn entering Kindergarten, Grade 1, or Grade 2 in September 2021 can register for the French Immersion program. Attendance boundaries will not apply to the French Immersion program, which means that children who will be in the Legacy Park Elementary School boundary can also register for French immersion.

One of the challenges faced by Assiniboia Park Elementary School is ensuring that enrollment is completed early, so that they can recruit staff for the program.

“We always want to hire great staff, so the school division is in the process of recruiting staff for the programs in Weyburn and Estevan. The other challenge at this time is that we are not sure of what our enrollment will actually be and that does pose some challenges. We would encourage parents to register their children as soon as possible so that we have accurate enrollment numbers. This is very important so that we are appropriately staffed and have all of the supports necessary for September. Please contact the school or visit the school’s website to register,” said Manning.

Registration for the French immersion program opened on January 22.