Experience a French Education
French Immersion Program
Early French Immersion Program (K-12) at the Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools
The Early French Immersion Program provides students with the opportunity to acquire fluency in speaking, reading, writing, listening and communicating in French by the end of Grade 12. It is a program in which French is the language of instruction, beginning in Kindergarten or Grade 1 and continuing to Grade 3 when English is introduced. Early French Immersion is designed for non-Francophones and is an effective way for students to become functionally fluent in French while achieving all of the learning outcomes of the regular programs of study.
First developed in Canada in 1965, the French Immersion program is based on decades of research into its effectiveness both in teaching a second language and in achieving the outcomes of the provincial education curriculum.
- Students entering kindergarten or Grade 1 can register at École St. Gerard
- Previous French experience is not required and parents do not need to know the language
- See Late French Immersion for entry in Grade 5 at École St. Gerard
Benefits of Learning French
Learning French offers students significant linguistic, academic and cognitive benefits. It opens doors to knowledge, communication, culture and travel, and gives graduates an edge in the global job market. It also provides the following benefits:
- strengthens English literacy skills
- develops listening and learning skills
- enhances problem-solving abilities
- increases cognitive abilities, making the student a more flexible and creative thinker
- provides graduates with more choices for advanced education and career options
- gives graduates a competitive edge in the job market anywhere in Canada and in many other countries
- broadens students' cultural life through access to literature, art, music and theatre in another language
- helps students to better understand the history, development and government of their country
- offers a gateway to national and international opportunities
- increases a student's feeling of self-esteem and pride
- makes learning a third or fourth language much easier
Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools French Immersion students have the opportunity to receive an internationally recognized language credentialing diploma. Language credentialing is a standardized assessment of language proficiency recognized internationally.
Benefits of Early French Immersion Program
- In Early French Immersion, reading and writing are first taught in French, but students quickly transfer those skills to English beginning in Grade 3. The program includes a strong English language component in Grades 3-12. Research shows that by Grade 6, the literacy skills of French Immersion students meet or exceed those of their peers in the regular English program.
- It is suitable for children with diverse learning needs, including those for whom English is a second language and students with special needs, where appropriate supports are provided.
- French Immersion begins with a period of concentration on French language development so students can achieve a strong foundation in French.
Subject and language breakdown by grade
- Kindergarten, Grade 1 and 2: All subjects are taught in French
- Grade 3: English Language Arts is introduced
- Grades 4-7: All subjects are taught in French except for English Language Arts
- Grades 8-12: French Immersion students have access to a full French Immersion program (including Senior High Sciences, Mathematics, Humanities, and Religion, Health, and Physical Education when possible) along with a diverse range of options for students to pursue.
The Alberta Education Programs of Study are the same for each subject, regardless of the language of instruction.
Students in both the City and County of Grande Prairie have access to free bussing to attend French Immersion.