Wednesday, May 30, 2007

French Immersion Recap

Oh yeah, that was me lined up outside my son's school last week at ten after seven, so I could sign him up for French Immersion. It was snowing for God's sake. But I did it and I'm glad I did. As you may recall, I was on the fence about the thing (leaning heavily toward no to FI) and asked for help. And people offered their opinions for which I am thankful. The comments really just kept me on the fence, leaning this way or that depending on what the most recent commenter had said. But then I went to the information session the school board provides for parents considering FI. When my husband and I returned from the session, we picked up Sam from MJ's and she was shocked at how sure I was about signing Sam up for FI after being fairly firmly against it when I left for the session.

The speaker at the information session addressed my concerns and, based on the parents I met in line at the school the morning we registered, she did it for others too. It was still hard to look at factors like "cognitive development" in order to tell if my child was ready for FI, when, as I pointed out to the FI presenter, he is three. But this is the time we have to register him so we had to decide. It helped to know that the FI program was developed by anglophone parents in Quebec who wanted a way for their children to learn French. I can really see how it works because my son has been immersed in English and is learning without me stopping to explain every word to him. He just listens and figures out what it all means and then, say when his aunt is babysitting and can't figure out the DVD player, he can say "Aunt Kem, I don't really think you know much about this, do you?" And that, apparently, is how FI works. You just listen and see and learn and before you know it you're saying something insensitive to your aunt in another language.

I am confident that he will be fine with FI and I know things I should not do now, such as compare him to other kids not in FI (I shouldn't be comparing him to other kids, period--everyone is different and I hope no one is comparing me to others my age). Having said all that, if I see him uncomfortable with it in Kinderstart, I am more than willing to let someone else have his spot in the French Immersion stream. It's about him, after all.


At 7:29 AM, Anonymous TrudyJ said...

Hmm...even if I hadn't had questions about FI being right for my son, I'm afraid having to stand in a lineup at 7:00 a.m. would have put me off!! Seriously, I'm so glad you've made a decision that you feel will be good for Sam and I hope Kindergarten, when it finally rolls around, will be a great experience for him. It is such an exciting milestone for moms as well as for kids.


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