Research has shown that people who speak more than one language have improved problem-solving and critical-thinking skills; a better ability to concentrate and multi-task; and excellent concentration and listening skills. Also, experts have shown that being bilingual or multilingual helps to prevent mental aging and cognitive decline.
James Thomson Elementary is a culturally rich, community orientated school, and home to School District 47's only Early French Immersion program. French Immersion is an educational program that provides students, whose first language is not French, the opportunity to become bilingual.
This is achieved by instruction of BC Ministry of Education curriculum in French from grades K-3, with English Language Arts beginning in grade 4 and gradually increasing. While this means that French Immersion students may be reading English later than their peers in a standard English program, the process of learning to read and write in English proves easier because of transferable learning skills. Research demonstrates that students who successfully complete a French Immersion program attain functional bilingualism while doing as well as, or better than, their monolingual peers in the content areas of curriculum, including English Language Arts.
The French Immersion program functions as an integrated learning stream, so students still participate in all school-based activities, field trips, and events. Also, given the breadth of programming, community engagement, and resources that School District 47 offers across the region, students will have a plethora of opportunities within reach in addition to learning a new language.
Parents/guardians do not need to speak French for their child to be successful in the program. Involvement in a child's learning can take many forms. Parents/guardians can encourage their child to learn French by reinforcing the value of learning a second language and providing opportunities to hear, read and speak French in other situations (listening to French music, reading French books, eating at a French restaurant, going on a student exchange to Quebec, etc.). Ongoing parent-teacher communication (in English) and collaboration are key elements of French Immersion. As well, there will be various resources available for homework support, language support, and general involvement – including parent groups, online help, and local evening French classes for adults.
Choosing French Immersion for your child is a great way to explore their potential, while providing them with a valuable advantage in today's increasing globalized economy.
Application & Registration
Applications to enroll in the Kindergarten French Immersion Program for the 2023/2024 school year are open between January 30 – February 25, 2023.
Once the application process closes on February 25th, the available spaces will be filled using the following procedure:
- Siblings of students who are already enrolled in French immersion for September 2022 will have the priority for a space. Note that parents must apply for a space for a sibling using the steps outlined above by the deadline of February 25th.
- Once the sibling spaces are confirmed, the remaining spaces available in the program will be filled by a random lottery draw.
- Should an opening occur once all the available seats have been allocated, it will be offered to parents on the waitlist in priority order.
Kindergarten registration for the French Immersion program & regular kindergarten stream must be complete by March 31, 2023
Parents/guardians will be contacted as soon as possible after the draw and then it will be their responsibility to complete the official registration form by March 31, 2023.
Completed registration packages, including a copy of your child's birth certificate or passport, can be scanned/emailed/ faxed to James Thomson Elementary. If a student is not registered by March 31, the reserved spot will no longer be available to them.