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The Role of Parents - When Both Parents are Francophones

The challenge…

The child is probably able to converse in French, but the type of French that the child speaks may be very different from that used in the school.

  • While affirming the French spoken at home, parents should at the same time help their children learn the formal oral French they will need in school, and help them develop a good vocabulary. For example, it may be perfectly normal to say "le ti-minou" at home, but the child must be able to recognize that "le petit chat" has the same meaning.
  • To help the child become familiar with more formal academic language, the two best methods are to read aloud and to teach songs and nursery rhymes. This allows the child to learn words and sentence structures not necessarily used at home and to make links between spoken language and written language.

  Some pitfalls…

  • Reducing exposure to French at home in favour of English, because we think that the child will not master English well enough.
  • Sending the child to a French immersion school, thinking that this will be good enough. (This is better than an English school, but the teaching approach in a French immersion school focuses on French as a second language, while Francophone schools teach in French as a first language). See Choosing the School - a Francophone School or French Immersion?

English is taught from Grade 4 in Francophone schools in British Columbia. At the end of high school (Grade 12), most of the graduates of the Francophone system master English as well as, if not better than, their monolingual Anglophone counterparts. See Does the Francophone School System Allow a Child to Learn English to a Level that Allows the Child to be Successful in life?