Opinion

Letter to the Editor: French Immersion

To the Editor:

Re: Deadline nears on French Immersion program, April 23

French Immersion is a highly successful made-in-Canada educational program that allows non-Francophones the opportunity to learn and study in French.

The program began over 30 years ago at the demand of parents, and has continued to garner support since: the 2012-2013 school year marked French Immersion’s 15th consecutive year of enrolment growth in B.C. Parents in Salmon Arm, Nanaimo, New Westminster, and Coquitlam, for example, have camped out in front of school district offices overnight just to get their children registered in the phenomenally popular French immersion program.

We believe French immersion programs are popular because they are widely recognized by parents as providing young students with the tools and experiences that will enrich their lives and help them prepare for the future.

Studies have shown that it is easier and more natural for a child to learn a secondlanguage at an early age. This is only logical, given that this is also when they absorb and learn their first language. In learning French, students develop a lifelong ability to communicate with a broader scope of people aswell as a more global view of Canada and the world. Research has shown thatlearning French as a second language  helps children increase their cognitive abilities to understand complex concepts, strengthen problem solving skills, and develop listening skills, focus, and concentration.

Knowledge of a second language also provides a competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up a larger pool of information, additional job opportunities and awider networking potential. According to the 2011 Federal Census Official-language bilinguals all across Canada, regardless of mother tongue, have an employment rate higher than the national average, and an unemployment rate of 4%, which is well under the national average of 7.7%. Official-language bilinguals also earn, on average, 10% more than their monolingual counterparts. [1]

Learning both of Canada's official languages allows for not only communication, but understanding in an ever-shrinking world community.

Families in the Greater Trail area currently have an opportunity to register in the Late French immersion at Rossland Secondary. This is an opportunity many families across British Columbia would envy.

I encourage all families in the Greater Trail area to give the Late French immersion program a good hard look. It's a program that has opened up a world of possibilities for youth, including my own.

DEBRA POOL, Vernon

President, Canadian Parents for French – B.C. & Yukon Branch

 

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