French Immersion

 Some questions, answers, and helpful linksabout the French Immersion program at École J.E. Lapointe School / Des questions et des réponses au sujet de l'immersion française.

Learning another language can help your child to:

  • improve listening skills
  • increase cognitive abilities, creating a more flexible thinker
  • enhance communication skills in his or her first language
  • develop a deeper understanding of his or her own culture
  • improve overall school performance
  • make learning a third or fourth language much easier.

We are now more closely connected to our global neighbours than ever before. Advances in technology are making it easier to travel and communicate with people all over the world. Increasing immigration is making our local communities more diverse and enriched. In addition, our economic well-being is linked to our ability to succeed in the international marketplace.

  • a lifelong ability to communicate with more people
  • an increased understanding of and respect for people of other cultures
  • broader educational and career opportunities
  • a competitive edge in the job market
  • more opportunities to enjoy literature, art, music, theatre, sports and travel.

The Impact of Second Language Education by Alberta Education shows the benefits of learning a second language are much broader than simply the ability to speak in another language. It reports on research that affirms the importance of second language education on intellectual potential, scholastic achievement, first language skills, citizenship and the economy.

The research conclusions in each area are as follows:

  • Students fluent in two language score higher in both verbal and non-verbal intelligence. 
  • Students studying a second language are superior in divergent thinking tasks and in memory ability and attention span.
  • Second language students have higher test scores in reading, language and mathematics. 
  • Each additional year of second language training created a greater positive differential compared to students not receiving a second language.
  • Second language education significantly strengthens first language skills in areas of reading, English vocabulary, grammar and communication skills. 
  • The earlier the start, the greater the positive effect on the first language.
  • Students studying a second language have superior cross-cultural skills and adapt better to varying cultural contexts. 
  • Students studying a second language display greater cultural sensitivity.
  • There is an urgent requirement for qualified speakers of languages other than English in areas of science, technology, medicine and global commerce.

Many parents worry that their children’s English language skills will be affected by learning another language. The truth is that a child’s English will not be harmed by learning another language and may even be improved! In studies that looked at the effect of learning another language on first language skills, the results have been positive. Students in second language programs readily transfer the skills they learn in one language to the other. They learn a lot about the English language by looking for similarities and differences between English and the language they are learning. All Alberta students take the same English language arts program and are expected to achieve the same standards. In early immersion programs, because of the initial focus on learning the second language, students do lag behind peers in the regular program in some English skills. However, they quickly catch up once they have had one or two years of English language arts. By Grade 5 or Grade 6, children in immersion programs do as well as or better than those in the English language program. Many studies have found that English skills are actually enhanced by learning another language. Immersion and bilingual program students often outperform students in the regular program in some English skill areas. Want to help improve your child’s English language skills? Suggest learning another language! 


École J.E. Lapointe School offers an extensive and well-established early Immersion Program. Students in grades 5-6 receive over 75% of instruction in French and receive between 3-4% of instruction in English Language Arts. Students in grades 7 and 8 receive over 60% of instruction in French and receive 3% of instruction in English Language Arts. There are several opportunities to use French beyond the classroom. The grade six class organizes an annual Quebec trip, French restaurant trips, and several French cultural presentations. It is our belief that École J.E. Lapointe School offers a well-rounded program: a program that not only thoroughly provides the skills of writing, reading-viewing, speaking and understanding the language but also one that creates a cultural awareness.

Helpful Links

Canadian Parents for French - National Site


Canadian Parents for French - Alberta Site

Alberta Education Information

Yes, You Can Help!  (A Parents' Resource)

French Immersion Brochure from Black Gold Regional School Division No. 18.