RIVERSIDE-ALBERT (GNB) – French language pilot projects will be implemented next school year to improve access to French learning in rural schools.

“As part of our commitment to move early French immersion back to Grade 1, your government also committed to finding innovative solutions to providing enhanced French learning in rural schools,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers, who is also minister responsible for literacy. “We are pleased to follow through on this commitment and to offer this opportunity to students in kindergarten to Grade 3 at four rural schools around the province.”

Rogers made the announcement today at Riverside Consolidated School, which will be the site for one of the pilots, on behalf of Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny.

Pilots will be introduced next school year, one in each anglophone district, in schools where there is some interest in immersion but insufficient interest to create an immersion class.

The other schools where the pilot project will be implemented are:

  • Miramichi Rural School;
  • Campobello Island Consolidated School; and
  • Doaktown Elementary School.

The department worked with school districts to select schools for the pilot project that are in rural areas; have a French Second Language teacher already in place who possesses a minimum French proficiency level of Advanced Plus and who has successfully demonstrated early language learning competencies; and where the community expressed interest in enhanced French opportunities for their students.

Currently, non-immersion French learning opportunities begin in kindergarten and focus on an appreciation for French language and culture with students learning in French for about 30 minutes per week. The pilot project will provide extended opportunities for students in kindergarten to Grade 3 to learn to speak, read and write in French. Learning opportunities will be included throughout the curriculum in these grades including in the subject areas of literacy, numeracy, art, music and culture for a minimum of 15 minutes per day.

The schools offering these pilot projects will have the flexibility to determine how it will be implemented at their school including which grade levels will participate. Schools will share best practices, participate in peer-mentoring and be monitored to see how these learning opportunities could be expanded to other schools.

One objective of the 10-year education plan for the Anglophone sector, Everyone at their Best, aims to improve levels of French language literacy to help all learners access a variety of bilingual opportunities and life experiences. The government’s 10-year education plans aim to improve educational outcomes and better prepare young people for the future. They set objectives in priority areas to create lifelong learners, support educational leaders and bring stability to the system.