FREDERICTON (GNB) – A French language pilot project will be expanded in the 2018-19 school year to improve access to French learning in rural schools.

“We are pleased this pilot project which provides enhanced French language learning in rural schools has been so well received,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny. “The demand to expand to other schools is encouraging as we continue to find innovative ways to expose our students to a second language.”

Seven additional schools will offer the pilot program this September:

  • Hillsborough Elementary School;
  • Dorchester Consolidated School;
  • Mountain View School;
  • Hartland Community School;
  • Vincent Massey Elementary School;
  • Donald Fraser Memorial School; and
  • Jacquet River School.

The four schools that were selected as initial sites for the pilot project in September 2017 and will continue with the program are Riverside Consolidated School, Miramichi Rural School, Campobello Island Consolidated School, and Doaktown Elementary School.

The sites are in rural schools where there is some interest in early French Immersion, no choice of immersion because of the number of students in the school, and no other school in the community within busing distance that offers immersion.

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 had successfully demonstrated early language learning competencies; and where the community expressed interest in enhanced French opportunities for their students.

The pilot project will provide students in kindergarten to Grade 3 with 30 to 40 minutes per day of extended non-immersion instruction to help them learn to speak, read and write in French.

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.