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French Immersion Program

Implementation of a French Immersion program at Dorothea Walker Elementary school was approved by the Board of Trustees in January of 2011. 

We currently offer the French Immersion program for kindergarten to grade 6.  We have 10  divisions of French Immersion at DWE. Our principal, Mme Bédard is bilingual and has vast experience in leading French Immersion education.

All French Immersion students will go to KLO Middle School for grades 7, 8 and 9, and Kelowna Senior Secondary for grades 10, 11 and 12.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How is French Immersion Funded?
The federal government pays a portion of the costs incurred in French Immersion programs, the Ministry of Education pays the majority of the cost.  Once a class is established, the cost per pupil is similar to that in the regular English program.

Who Teaches the Program?
In School District 23, French Immersion teachers must be fluently bilingual (French and English) and possess a current BC Teacher's Certificate.  Learning Assistance is available to pupils who are experiencing difficulties in the classroom.

What about my child's achievement?
French:  In this program, pupils achieve a high level of proficiency in French comprehension, speaking, reading and writing.  By the end of elementary school, French Immersion pupils develop a functional level of fluency so they can communicate in the French language.

English:  The English language arts component is not introduced until the last year of primary schooling (grade 3).  By this time, pupils have learned how to read in French.  The decoding skills required for reading in French are usually quickly transferred and applied to the English component of the program.  Although there are some initial lags in English language development, namely in punctuation, capitalization and spelling, no long term deficits in English language development have been noted.

How Can I Help My Child?
This is a common question asked by parents who are English-speaking.  Parents are encouraged to listen to their child read out loud in French.  An older sibling or friend who speaks French can also read to your child.  Sentence structures are similar in English and French, so parents can also read to their child in English.  Lastly, French Immersion teachers are willing to work closely with parents to keep them aware of their child's progress.