What are the benefits of French Immersion?

Academically, learning French is proven to enhance a student's ability to read and write in both English and French.  It strengthens literacy skills in English and Math, and increases a student's thinking ability and problem solving skills in a general sense.  Learning a second language develops a student's listening and learning skills, and encourages self-discipline.  In the end, French Immersion increases a student's cognitive abilities, making them a more flexible and creative thinker, and produces fluency in both of Canada's official languages.  Learning a second language makes learning a third or fourth language much easier - fluency in French eases the learning of other languages, particularly Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Studies show that French Immersion students beyond Grade 6 typically match or receive higher scores on Provincial Achievement Tests than their English peers, in all subjects including English.

Immersion in a second language and culture is known to increase a student's feeling of self-esteem and pride.

Culturally, students gain an understanding and appreciation of the French culture.  There are many projects and activities involved in French Immersion that celebrate a rich culture and heritage.  Students enjoy access to literature, art, music and theatre fully conveyed through another language, which broadens their sense of culture and community.

Fluency in French opens doors to national and international opportunities involving study, work and travel throughout Canada and in the 30 countries worldwide where French is spoken.

Speaking French gives graduates a competitive edge in advanced education and in the job market at home and abroad!

Sylvan Lake Students Spend Spring Break in Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa


Olds Student Enjoys Three Month Exchange in France

Statia Powell spent part of her grade 9 year on a student exchange in France. Aurelia and Statia in the beautiful French countryside.

French Immersion programming has opened up a world of opportunities for one Chinook's Edge student!

Statia Powell started French Immersion when she was in Grade 1 at École Olds Elementary School.  Now in Grade 9 at Olds High School, Statia has had the opportunity to participate in a three month exchange in France.

"Neither of my parents are French speaking, but they both really wanted me to succeed in it.  They strongly believe in the opportunities and extra things that can come to me by being fully fluent in French," said Statia.  "Last year my mom helped organize an exchange to Quebec for a week, and soon after that she received an email from the organization saying they needed more people to participate in the France exchange.  There were a lot of students in France who wanted to participate, but not as many from Canada.  We got involved right away."

The exchange was open to students aged 13-18, making Statia one of the youngest participants.  Her exchange partner from France, Aurélia, came to Olds for the first part of the school year, and Statia returned to France at the start of second semester.

"Aurélia came with me to school each day, and she took two different science classes and a lot of English classes.  Our friendship became another way to deepen our experience in French - it was comfortable having a French friend and it made me familiar with the language in a more informal way."

The strong friendship they forged in Olds made it much easier when Statia arrived in France for her exchange.  She spent February, March and April with Aurélia's family at their home two hours north of Bordeau.

"It was a very small town, only a quarter the size of Olds.  It was really interesting though, and everything is so close together in France, it was very easy to tour around.  Aurélia's family was very generous with travelling, so I saw a lot of things in France," said Statia.

"My French Immersion experience definitely helped prepare me for my time there.  The other kids on the exchange didn't all seem to have the same level of French that I did.  I was the only student from Chinook's Edge and the other students on the exchange came from all over Canada.  It was such a valuable experience and my French really improved - being in France opened my eyes to the opportunities abroad.  I'm definitely going to continue in French at post-secondary, and I'd like to have a career where I can use my second language.  Maybe even a third!"

As with many exchange experiences, being away also instilled a greater sense of appreciation for Canada.  "I feel I got to know more about different aspects of my own country through French Immersion.  It has been an amazing experience and I'm so glad to be involved."

Exchange students Statia (left, from Olds High) and Aurelia enjoyed a full immersion in one another's culture. French Immersion opened doors to a three month exchange and a life-long friendship.



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