Comforting things

Observations en français

Willis has been in French Immersion Kindergarten for 2 weeks now.  And for two weeks he has excitedly asked every day: Mommy, when do I get to go to school again?
I gotta tell ya, that is music to my ears.
Also music to my ears?  Him coming home with french words, french songs and french sayings galore.
 In just two weeks.
Which makes me wonder....what happens in an English stream classroom?
Now, I grew up in the immersion program from elementary right through to post secondary and I teach in immersion, which makes it the only academic culture I know.  I'm not trying to belittle English stream schools in the post, but rather answer a few questions that I just can't seem to wrap my brain around.  And there are many things I have never grasped: Bunsen burners, periodic tables, polynomial equations, algorithms and really anything math or science related.  But I'm not going to deny my kids the chance to study that just because I don't understand.  And that seems to be the most common fear that parents have sending kids to a school that communicates in a language that they may not understand.
Did you know that immersion students don't learn to read in English until grade 2 (or3- they may have changed this) ? And yet studies still show that an immersion student will come out as a stronger reader than a mono linguistic student.
Kids brains are like sponges and can acquire a second language so easily, much more easily in fact than an adult would if they were to try to become bilingual.  What I love about Willis' age is his lack of inhibitions- he only knows the environment around him and goes into it with such a curious mind.  He comes home with such pride every day because he gets to teach Lucia something new.  It can be like that with parents too.  I remember having Christy over for sleepovers and we would speak in our secret code language (French) that neither of my parents could understand.
I want my kids to be challenged and pushed and I'm sure that they will have exactly that in an immersion school.  Really when I say immersion, I mean ANY immersion- doesn't matter the language.  What matters is the acquisition of the second set of skills that they are getting at an age that is so easy for them to do.

What astounds me is actually seeing the result of an immersion program right before my eyes last year.
I was teaching a set of grade 9 french immersion kids and a set of grade 9 regular stream kids.  It was English class: same curriculum, same exams, same everything, just two different groups of kids.  Throughout the entire semester and this didn't even waver once- my immersion kids consistently averaged at least 15% higher than the regular stream students.
That's gotta say something.

If you ever have any questions regarding the immersion program, please send them my way.  Yes, I'm biased but I'd love to convince to enrich your child's life.

Bonne fin de semaine!