February 03, 2020

More Students And Families Choosing French Immersion Programming Than Ever Before

The week of February 3-7, 2020, is French-Second-Language Education Week in Saskatchewan.  It is a chance to celebrate the growing number of Saskatchewan families recognizing the value of French language education in our schools.

This year’s theme is “50 years of French Immersion, 50 years of the Official Languages Act.”  Over the last 10 years, enrolment in French Immersion programming around the province has risen by 30 per cent, with more than 16,500 students enrolled in French Immersion programs for the 2019-20 school year.

“It is wonderful to see so many students learning French from an early age,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Gordon Wyant said. “French Immersion is one of the many opportunities students have to learn a second language, enhance their communication skills and gain the benefits that come with being bilingual.”

There are now 77 schools offering French Immersion programming in the province. In the 2019-20 school year, Saskatoon’s École Silverspring School began offering French Immersion to accommodate increasing enrolment in the city. French Immersion programming has also expanded in schools around the province, including the addition of Grade 2 at École Traditions Elementary in Warman, Grade 6 at École Lumsden Elementary, Grade 8 at École Dundonald School in Saskatoon, Grade 10 at Greenall High School in Balgonie, and Grade 12 added at Carpenter High School in Meadow Lake.

“With the French Immersion program taking root in Saskatchewan more than 50 years ago now, the steady enrolment growth we are seeing reflects the high value an increasing number of parents are placing on official bilingualism and is another terrific example of how we all connect as Canadians,” President of Canadian Parents for French – Saskatchewan Janet Loseth said. “CPF-SK is proud to organize this annual proclamation and last year more than 5,800 students participated in celebrating French-Second-Language Education Week around the province. We acknowledge all our partners who are creating lifelong opportunities for our youth during this week and throughout the year.”

French Immersion allows students the opportunity to learn French as a second language, with French used for a large part of the school day and as the language of instruction for most courses. Students who are in French Immersion become proficient in English while also developing a strong foundation in French. School boards make requests to the ministry annually to designate schools and grades offering French Immersion programming based on their local needs.

Additional funding is provided to school divisions to support the purchase of resources for Immersion programming. An additional $3.4 million is being provided for French Immersion programs around the province in 2019-20. The Ministry of Education also supports French Immersion programming through the development of curricula and resources. Recently developed resources, including Treaty resource kits, are available in both French and English.

Saskatchewan schools offering French second language programs also benefit from funding from the Canada-Saskatchewan Agreement on Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction. In 2018-19, about $6.3 million in federal-provincial funding was allocated to various organizations and school divisions to support French second language instruction in Saskatchewan’s K-12 schools.

French Immersion is one of three main options available to learn French in Saskatchewan’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system. Another 31,000 students around the province are enrolled in a Core French second-language program, where French is taught as an individual class, and the Conseil des écoles fransaskoises offers French first-language education to more than 1,900 students around the province.

For more information and resources, visit Canadian Parents for French - Saskatchewan at https://sk.cpf.ca.