One objective of the 10-year education plan for the Anglophone sector, Everyone at their Best, is to improve levels of French language literacy to help all learners access a variety of bilingual opportunities and life experiences.
To help achieve this, the Government of New Brunswick is returning French immersion to Grade 1. The new Grade 1 program has been enhanced based upon the most recent research on French learning. Enhancements include a stronger literacy focus with an emphasis on oral language and will include authentic French language experiences. Grade 1 students will receive less than 10 per cent of instruction in English. This accounts for courses such as physical education and music where the teacher may not speak French.
Early French immersion will be offered at 68 schools around the province beginning in September 2017, including at seven schools that will be offering it for the first time. The seven new schools are: Blackville School, Nelson Rural School, North & South Esk Elementary School, Keswick Ridge School, Minto Elementary Middle School, Montgomery Street Elementary School in Fredericton, and Petitcodiac Regional School.
As well, French language pilot projects will be implemented to improve access to French learning in rural schools. The pilots will be introduced in September 2017, one in each Anglophone district, in schools where there is some interest in immersion but insufficient interest to create an immersion class. The four schools that will be part of this pilot project are: Riverside Consolidated School, Miramichi Rural School, Campobello Island Consolidated School, and Doaktown Elementary School.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development 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
- 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.
Updated: August 2017
MEDIA CONTACT(S): Kelly Cormier, communications, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, (506) 444-5395, firstname.lastname@example.org