French Immersion Advice from Teachers

Parents do not need to know French for their children to be successful in the French program. Their children can 'teach them'. Children can read to their parents in French. Parents can use technology to properly pronounce words in French and to look up words. Shawna, Kindergarten teacher in Ontario

Go on the journey of cultural identity with your child. Openly talk about the adventures that await your young one when they learn another language. Discuss what it means to identify with aspects of another language and culture. Hopefully your child will become a Francophile while embracing their own culture. Walk each step of learning French with them and be there to celebrate it all; struggles and successes, as in the end, learning another language is the most beautiful gift one can receive from themselves. Meredith, Language coordinator in Manitoba

I think it is a common misconception for parents to feel that they should have some knowledge of the language in order to help their kids. Something I ask of parents all the time is to encourage their children to ask questions and let the teacher know if they haven't understood or are confused about something. That's what we're there for! I also tell parents if work comes home and it appears too challenging or frustrating, to just have the child put it away and come see me the next day. Jennifer, Grade 2 teacher in Ontario

I have had many parents tell me that they don’t feel they can support their children in French reading. I encourage them to read in English or whatever language they speak at home. Research has shown that many reading strategies and skills are transferable between languages. Reading is reading. Another suggestion is that even when they don’t understand what their child is reading, they can still talk about it together! Talking about favourite characters, funny scenes and interesting facts will help support reading comprehension and give parents a good idea if their child is reading a book at an appropriate level. Kasie, Grade 2 teacher in Ontario

Children will learn French even if the parents don't speak French. My advice would be to converse with your child to help build their vocabulary in their native language and read to them in their native language. If their first language is English especially, this will help with French because the languages have so many similar words and reading strategies are the same un both languages. Cindy, Grade 6 teacher in New Brunswick

The program is designed so parents do not need to speak French for their children to succeed. They should be pushing reading and literacy as much as if they were in English school, if not more. Children feed off of your passion and enthusiasm so even pretending to understand what your children are reading to you will be helpful. DVD or Blu-ray in Canada have to have a French audio version and subtitles so you can use that for some extra oral comprehension. Many shows and movies on Netflix also have French audio available too. Mark, Grade 5 teacher in Ontario