French Immersion

French Immersion

The goal of French Immersion is to develop proficiency in French and English, and to have an understanding and appreciation of French culture. The ability to speak and understand French allows students to communicate with French-speaking people in Canada and around the world, and to benefit from a competitive advantage in the workplace.  Learning French not only strengthens students’ ability to communicate, but helps to develop appreciation and respect for the diversity of Canadian and global societies.

Lakehead Public Schools offer an Early French Immersion Program designed for students whose first language is not French. The curriculum content in all grades is the same as the English curriculum, except that students receive instruction in French. Students enroll in the French Immersion program in Senior Kindergarten (SK).  In SK and Grade One all instruction is given in French.  A daily period of English language arts is introduced in Grade Two and increases gradually until Grade Six, where French and English instruction is balanced.

Hammarskjold High School offers a French Immersion Diploma to students wishing to continue their study of the French language. To obtain the Diploma, students are required to take ten credits with French as the language of instruction:

  • Four of these credits must be French Immersion Language credits
    • Geography of Canada | Grade 9
    • Healthy Active Living Education | Grade 9
    • Civics │ Grade 10
    • Career Studies │ Grade 10
    • Canadian History since WWI | Grade 10
  • For the other French credits, students choose additional courses
    from the following:

    • Food and Nutrition│HFN2OF
    • Cooperative Education│DCO3OF
    • Food and Culture│HFC3MF
    • Introduction to Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology│HSP3UF

The variety of course offerings and full immersion experiences provide students with ample opportunities to enhance and refine their oral and written French language skills through structured and unstructured daily interaction. In addition, students will expand their
knowledge of the language through the study of francophone culture and literature.

By the end of the four year program, students will participate easily in conversations and discussions, will be able to take courses at the college or university level in which French is the language of instruction, and will be able to accept employment where French is the working language.

Lakehead Public Schools is a proud partner in the Centre DELF-DALF du Nord Ouest Ontario (Accredited Testing Centre) providing the opportunity for Grade 12 students to challenge the DELF exam. The DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) is an internationally-recognized certificate awarded by the French National Ministry of Education to certify the French-language competency of candidates whose first language is not French.

FSL Homework Toolbox


Senior Kindergarten French Immersion

The French Immersion Senior Kindergarten program is identical to our English program. The only significant difference is that French is the language of instruction.

Except in emergency situations, the teacher addresses the class only in French. To overcome the initial language barrier, French Immersion teachers are creative and energetic in their approach. The extensive use of mime, drama, music and body language is evident. From the outset, the child needs to feel happy and secure in the learning environment in order to flourish.

An important key to success is a positive attitude in the home toward the language and the program. If your child is eager to speak French at home, offer encouragement, but never pressure him or her to do so. Some students are very shy to express themselves in French outside the classroom, especially to their family members.

Before long, you should notice that your child is well adjusted to his or her new situation. Your child will take it as a natural course. In his or her eyes, French is the language of communication in the classroom. By the end of the year, children are able to recognize a large vocabulary and are using words and sentences to express themselves. They are able to follow the teacher’s instructions and to understand conversations and stories.

Keep in mind that in the early stages of the program, the level of the child’s comprehension is much higher than his or her ability to express himself or herself.

Registration For Senior Kindergarten French Immersion takes place at the same time as the registration for the English Kindergarten Program. You may register your child for SK French Immersion at your neighbourhood school. If you would like your child to be in the French Immersion Program, you must register them in SK French Immersion.

If your child is already enrolled in JK in one of our schools, you do not need to register for French Immersion online. Your child will bring home a paper registration form (SK French Immersion Intent Form). Please complete and submit the form, and your child will “migrate” into French Immersion for SK.

Parent Information Sessions on French Immersion will be held in mid-January at each of the three schools in our Board which offer the French Immersion program. There will be teachers, students, and parents of French Immersion students to describe the program and to answer any questions you may have. For more information, please feel free to call any French Immersion Principal or contact Inga Anderson-Foster, Elementary Resource Teacher, at 625-5103.

The French Immersion curriculum content is the same as the English curriculum. In Kindergarten, children learn to understand and follow basic vocabulary and simple sentence structures. In all grades, listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills are developed in an integrated fashion. Formal instruction in Language in English begins in Grade 2.

For more information, check the FAQ, or contact the French Immersion School nearest you:


Is French Immersion right for your child?

The French Immersion program can be a viable and exciting option for your child. It is helpful to consider the following:

My Child:

  • listens effectively (e.g., can retell or explain a story or event in proper sequence)
  • plays with language (e.g., enjoys rhyming and ‘opposites’ games)
  • enjoys new words (e.g., repeats and uses new vocabulary appropriately)
  • has not experienced significant hearing problems

Learning Skills
My Child:

  • focuses on stories, conversations or activities for at least five to ten minutes
  • handles new situations using positive coping strategies and is able to communicate his or her difficulties when necessary
  • demonstrates curiosity and a willingness to explore, experiment and make new connections.

Good learning is a partnership that requires commitment from everyone.


Our Bilingual Approach

While the French Immersion program focuses on French skills, it also provide opportunities for students to develop their English language skills and to follow a full and balanced program in other areas of the curriculum.

In Senior Kindergarten and Grade One instruction is given in French. The children will explore a wide variety of themes which follow the curricula of the Ministry of Education. Communication skills are emphasized and the children improve and develop increasing confidence at expressing themselves in French.

In Grade Two, a period of instruction in English language arts, approximately 80 minutes per day, is introduced. This format is continued until the end of Grade Five. This English language arts program includes reading, writing, listening, speaking, and developing skills in spelling and grammar.

With the emphasis on the acquisition of the French language, a slight lag in some areas such as English spelling or reading may be apparent; however, these lags are quickly overcome and usually disappear by the end of the junior grades.

In a French Immersion program, French is not simply taught as a subject, but becomes a medium of instruction for all or most of the curriculum. The curriculum content taught in the French Immersion program is identical to the English program. When French is the language of mathematics, geography or music, students have opportunities to use immediately the vocabulary and structures they have learned. Studies show that such meaningful communication activities are of great importance to second-language learning.

In Grades Six to Eight, French and English instruction is balanced, as near as possible, to offer a 50/50 ratio. The language of instruction in Mathematics and Science & Technology is English, while the language of instruction for History and Geography is French. The Arts and Health & Physical Education may be taught in either language.

Hammarskjold High School offers a French Immersion Diploma to students wishing to continue their study of French language. To obtain the Diploma, students are required to take ten credits with French as the language of instruction. Four of these credits must be French Immersion Language credits. Students can choose from a wide variety of courses such as Physical Education, Civics and Careers or Anthropology. This variety of courses gives students ample opportunities to enhance and refine their oral and written French Language skills as well as to expand their knowledge of the language through the study of francophone culture and literature. By the end of the 4 year program, students will participate easily in conversations and discussions and will be able to take courses at the college or university level in which French is the language of instruction and be able to accept employment in which French is the working language. Since Hammarskjold High School has a strong focus on International Studies, students who wish to learn a third or fourth language may also choose Spanish or German.


 Take the time to get personally involved in
some of the class activities.  The teacher will
appreciate your assistance and your interest in the class.

A “Meet The Teacher” evening is held in early
fall at most schools.

Senior Kindergarten 100% French
Grade One 100% French
Grades Two – Five 75% French
25% English
Grades Six – Eight 50% French
50% English

French Immersion Secondary Brochure


Canadian Parents For French

CPF is the strong voice for parents and others who support French second-language education throughout Canada. CPF works with teachers and school officials to create and improve opportunities for French second-language learning. Visit their website at


Goals of the French Immersion Program

The French Immersion program is designed for children whose first language is not French.

The goal of the French Immersion program is to enable students to obtain what is recognized as a “top level” of proficiency, described by the Ministry of Education. Students in French Immersion programs should be able, upon graduation, to function well in a Frenchspeaking community after a short orientation period.

To expect all students to attain the fluency of native speakers is, however, not a realistic aim even for an immersion program.

What the children will achieve is a high level of bilingualism, enabling them to function with ease in both English and French.


Learning A Second Language!

“The ability to communicate in French is a valuable skill, because French is one of Canada’s two official languages and because it is a language used widely around the world.

Research confirms that knowledge of a second language strengthens first-language skills and that the ability to speak two or more languages generally enhances reasoning and problem solving skills, as well as creative thinking skills. Learning a second language not only strengthens students’ ability to communicate, but also develops their capacity to understand and respect other cultures. In this way, second-language learning prepares students to participate more effectively in the workplace and in the global economy, and provides them with a distinct advantage in a number of careers, both in Canada and internationally.”

The Ontario Curriculum: French As A Second Language, French Immersion Grades 1-8, 2001


French Immersion at High School

During the intensive part of the French Immersion program at the elementary level, students develop a sound competence in the French language. The aim of the Immersion program at the secondary level is to ensure that a student’s competence in French keeps pace with his or her increasing intellectual and general maturity.

Lakehead Public Schools houses its Secondary French Immersion program at Hammarskjold High School. Students earn their certification in French Immersion by completing 10 credits from a selection of courses available in French. Hammarskjold students enjoy the rich tradition of internationalism which is reflected in a curriculum emphasis on international languages, offering courses in French, German, Spanish and Italian, as well as the opportunity to travel abroad through a student exchange arrangement, to perfect their language skills and truly “live” a culture. Hammarskjold is the only high school in Canada with a ReLan Pro Language Lab. A key component in the language program, this state-of-the-art facility is a valuable tool for our French Immersion, core French and international language (German, Spanish, Italian) students. Plans are underway to implement an internationally-recognized language examination for Grade 12 French Immersion students and students will soon be able to write international language proficiency exams right here in Thunder Bay when Hammarskjold becomes the Diplôme d’etudes en langue française (DELF) accredited evaluation centre.


Questions & Answers

Do parents of children in French Immersion have to be able to speak French?

The program is designed for children who normally speak English at home. It is not expected that parents will be able to speak French. Teachers are aware of this when they send home notices or assign homework. Reporting is in English.

Will my child learn the same things as students in English classes?

The curriculum must follow The Ontario Curriculum. Materials in French cover the same basic program as in English, although perhaps in a different sequence. Students work towards the same academic goals regardless of the language of instruction.

Will my child be behind in English if he or she takes French Immersion?

Evaluations of Immersion programs across Canada have indicated that although there are certain lags in English language skills for the first few years, children in Immersion very quickly catch up to and keep pace with children in the English program once English is introduced. It is important that you read stories in English at home and expose your child to English songs, nursery rhymes and books that will enrich his or her first language experience, just as you would if they were in the English program.

What type of French is taught in the classroom?

Standard French vocabulary and structures are taught. A variety of accents exist in all languages; during a school career a child will be exposed to teachers from various parts of the world who are models of well-spoken, grammatically correct French.

What if we are transferred or move to another district or province?

French Immersion is available in most urban centres in Canada. A full directory is published by the Canadian Parents for French (CPF) and information is available both from the Thunder Bay Chapter of CPF and dual track Lakehead Public Schools.

How can I help my child?

From the early stages of the program, parents can be of great assistance by being supportive of the program. They can talk about all new experiences and read regularly to their child in English. Most often if a child is experiencing difficulty in a particular subject area, the confusion lies with the concept, not the language. Discuss and explain the concept in English.

What if my child experiences difficulty in French Immersion?

As with children in the regular English program, help will be available from the classroom teacher in consultation with the school’s facilitator. Feel free to discuss any concerns you have with your child’s teacher.



Enrolment in Senior Kindergarten French Immerison may take place at any time during the school year though a special time, the first week of February, is considered our Kindergarten Registration Week for both French and English students. Each Dual Track school Principal is pleased to invite interested parents and guardians to call for a personal introduction to the world of French Immersion at Lakehead Public Schools. Registration for Senior Kindergarten French Immersion takes place at your neighbourhood school. All interested students must register specifically for the French Immersion program. Junior Kindergarten students who live outside of the zone of the Dual Track (both French & English) schools may register for JK at the Dual Track School if they intend to register for Senior Kindergarten French Immersion the following year. In this way, children do not have to switch schools between Junior and Senior Kindergarten. Late admissions to the French Immersion program will be considered after assessment of the student and in consultation with the Principal/Vice Principal of the school.



All eligible students will be transported to the Dual Track Schools to attend the French Immersion Program.

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