French as a Second Language

We offer French as a Second Language in all grades from Kindergarten to Grade 8.

We use the Accelerative Integrative Methodology (AIM) Language Learning Program to meet the curriculum expectations.

The key components of the framework are:

  • To increase student confidence, proficiency and achievement in French as a Second Language (FSL).
  • To increase the percentage of students studying French as a Second Language until graduation.
  • To increase student, educator, parent and community engagement in FSL.

French as a Second Language

Learning a second language is part of Ontario's curriculum.

Your child will improve his academic and general cognitive abilities by studying another language. Your child will likely learn his or her second language faster than children who studied 15 or 20 years ago.

Educators steadily improve teaching methods and share their experiences with other teachers to enhance learning for children. We use the Accelerative Integrative Methodology method to teach French in our schools, and some aspects of the Common European Framework are being adopted as well.

As with all subjects, a bit of time spent at home learning French can mean the difference between mediocre achievements or academic success.

Advantages of Learning French as a Second Language

JK Having Fun
Photo, French activities in Junior Kindergarten.

French Language Cooking
Photo, French cooking class.

English and French are official languages in Canada with equal status. Therefore, there are many benefits of being able to communicate in both languages. Some of the main advantages of learning French as a second language include:

1. Second languages attract significant academic and cognitive benefits

Second languages have been proven to increase a person's overall literacy skills. Second languages also enhance first languages and offer a firm foundation for learning many other languages. Children with a second language also improve reasoning as well as problem solving and creative thinking skills.

The bilingual children . . . showed a 'more diversified structure of intelligence and more flexibility in thought'.

Report of Current Research on the Effects of Second Language Learning on First Language Literacy Skills (PDF).

2. Second languages support a person's social and interpersonal skills

Research studies also show that learning other languages helps in developing social and interpersonal skills. A 2004-2005 report by the Commissioner of Official Languages indicates that people who can learn and master two or more languages boost their self-esteem and confidence. Such people also tend to interact with others easily.

3. Learning French as a Second Language helps to improve understanding and appreciation for diverse cultures

Learning French as a Second Language helps students understand Canada's history. Learning French also contributes to the appreciation of French culture.

4. Increase competitiveness in global markets

French Language and Culture, learning vocabulary
Photo, French vocabulary with Madam Glaister.

Bilingualism has benefits in the modern connected world. Students who can master English and French have access to more opportunities globally where those languages are spoken. Globalization has made it crucial for people to be proficient in more than one language.

Many companies when considering two seemingly equal job candidates will choose the bilingual candidate.

Requirements for Learning French as a Second Language in Ontario

English-language school boards can choose any French as a Second Language program as long as the program follows the curriculum. French as a Second Language learning is focused on French speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills. The Core French program provides at least 600 hours study time by the time a student finishes Grade 8.

Our teachers use a program called Accelerative Integrative Methodology (AIM). Wendy Maxwell, the creator of the program, taught our French as a Second Language teachers so our school children would have the best possible instruction.

Read our blog article explaining the AIM program.

How can parents prepare their children for learning French?

The French as a Second Language program in Ontario doesn't expect children to know French before they begin studying in school. Parents can, however, encourage their children to develop an interest in French. A key factor to success for children is seeing and hearing from their parents that learning a second language is important.

There are activities that you can do together that will help your child learn French faster. Hearing the language spoken helps children pick out words that they have learned in school and attunes their ear to this new language.

For example, if your child is learning words related to the weather, listening to the French weather radio news will help them. Ask your child to listen for words they can recognize from the French class. It is also helpful to listen to French podcasts, TV shows, children's songs, etc. All of these ideas assist a child in learning French.

There are many educational software programs to use at home to accelerate your child's learning and therefore his or her confidence with French. People report learning a new language by using Duolingo. It is effective and fun. Duolingo also has a free app for the iPhone.

Teacher Training
Photo: Accelerative Integrative Methodology teacher training

What should you expect from your child as they learn French?

All students learning French as a second language are expected to learn how to read, write, and speak, in French and with the new programs, such as Accelerative Integrative Methodology and the Common European Framework, it is becoming a reality for students. We see the most success in students who do short amounts of French work at home to enhance their learning. Student achievement levels do vary depending on student effort.

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