I am writing as a concerned parent on the issue of dismissing the French Immersion program in Fort Frances.
Last year at this time, the idea of enrolling my son in the program weighed heavily on my mind. I do not speak French, and understand it very little, but I wanted my son to have every tool available to him for his future.
Sad to say that because I did not know the French language, I was leaning on keeping him in the English program.
I had talked to parents who were enrolling their children in the French Immersion program, and they were urging me to enroll my son because they were low on enrolment numbers and were afraid of the program ending.
So I had a talk with my five-year-old son and asked him if he wanted to stay with the other students learning English or would he like to learn how to speak in French. To my surprise, he was really happy and eager to learn to speak French.
So on the very last day of school in 2005, we enrolled him in the French Immersion program. I am so very happy for the decision my son made for his future. It is really amazing what they learn in a very short time.
I have the pleasure to go into the classroom and see for myself how well they adjust and understand, as you know everything is taught in French.
Many parents are not aware of the tools out there for the parents and students in the program. The Canadian Parents for French have a classroom set up once a month for the parents who do not speak French, as well as tutoring at the local library for any student who may need it.
I have been able to attend a few of the classroom meetings, where you go and learn the vocabulary words each month, as well as songs and other topics of learning for the students.
What I have not been able to learn in the classroom, I learned through my son, and let me tell you, he is prouder than punch to be able to teach me!
I am forgetting some very key components—the teachers! It has been a pleasure for my son and I to have such wonderful and dedicated teachers of the program.
Mme. Jean and Mme. Beck are wonderful! They are very dedicated on helping them learn and making it fun for the students. Because my son is just finishing SK, we have not had the opportunity to meet the other teachers, but I know we will as my son progresses through the program.
It is upsetting that the Catholic school board has decided to dismiss the program. I urge any parent that wished to send their child through the French Immersion program next year, and in the years to come, to let their voices be heard.
Also, any parent sitting the fence for the same reasons I was, please talk with your children and let them be part of the decision-making process, and let your voices be heard. One day your child may be very thankful for having these extra tools for their future!
If you don’t, the board has made the decision for you!
All the best in the future.
Fort Frances, Ont.