English
French-language content for this topic on Alberta.ca is currently being developed. Information will remain available on the Alberta Education website until this is complete.

Français
La page correspondante en français est en cours de préparation sur le site Web Alberta.ca. Pendant cette période de transition, l'information qu’elle contient demeure disponible sur le site Web du ministère de l’Éducation.

Overview

Alberta Education recognizes that English and French are the official languages of Canada. Canadian citizens belonging to the Francophone minority in Alberta have the right to have their children educated in Francophone schools according to section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 10 of the School Act.

As French is one of Canada's two official languages, learning French is considered important to enhance opportunities for living and working throughout Canada and the world, as well as to foster a greater understanding between French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians. Alberta Education encourages opportunities for all Alberta students to learn French by making available alternative French language programs such as French immersion and French as a second language courses.

More information

What do I want my child to achieve? What are the benefits for my child?

French First Language French as a Second Language – Immersion French as a Second Language – Courses

After completing Grade 12, your child will:

  • be highly proficient in French as a first language and have developed a positive attitude towards the language
  • be part of Francophone culture and identify with the Francophone community
  • be proficient in English
  • be able to pursue post-secondary studies and work in French, English, or both languages
  • be able to appreciate other languages, cultures and communities in Canada and around the world

After completing the French immersion program, your child will:

  • be fluent in French
  • be able to live, work and pursue post-secondary studies in French, English, or both languages
  • be part of and have an understanding and appreciation of Francophone culture
  • be proficient in English
  • be able to appreciate other languages, cultures and communities in Canada and around the world

After several years, your child will:

  • have developed basic skills in French as a base for pursuing fluency
  • be able to understand and appreciate Francophone culture and other languages and communities in Canada and around the world

What is the learning environment like?

French First Language French as a Second Language – Immersion French as a Second Language – Courses
  • Education is offered in French from Kindergarten through Grade 12, except for the English Language Arts course which is offered in English.
  • As an extension of family and community life, the school environment, programming, and extra-curricular activities provide your child with a solid and dynamic basis for sustaining use of the French language and participation in Francophone culture.
  • English Language Arts is introduced in the early years of schooling. If your child requires assistance in English, support will be provided as required.
  • The language of communication between home, school and the school board is French. Assistance is provided to help parents who do not speak French support their child's learning and school experience.
  • French is used as the language of instruction for a significant part of each school day; several or all subjects are taught in French except the English Language Arts course.
  • French Immersion programming begins with an intensive period of French language development. Students build a foundation in French so that they can learn to read and begin their studies in other subjects, such as math, science, social studies, the fine arts, etc. School and extra-curricular activities in French may be used to support the development of language skills and cultural appreciation.
  • The language of communication between home and school is English.
  • The learning of French is optional and school authorities decide which courses are offered.
  • French is taught as a school subject (Alberta Education recommends 30‑40 minutes of instruction per day).
  • French is used as the language of classroom communication.
  • Your child’s French abilities are developed through the use of themes and projects geared to students’ interests and life experiences.

Which program is best for my child?

French First Language French as a Second Language – Immersion French as a Second Language – Courses

Is intended for a child:

  • whose parent learned French as their first language and still understands it
  • whose parent received primary-school instruction in French in Canada
  • whose brother or sister has received or is receiving primary- or secondary-school instruction in French in Canada (as described in section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms)
  • whose parent with Francophone roots wants to introduce their child to the French language and Francophone identity and culture
  • whose parent wants their child to retain their French-language skills and Francophone identity and culture (e.g., a Francophone immigrant who is a permanent resident of Canada)
  • Is intended for a child whose first language is not French.
  • Is intended for a child whose first language is not French.

In what grade can my child start learning French?

French First Language French as a Second Language – Immersion French as a Second Language – Courses
  • French first language schools begin in Kindergarten or Grade 1; however, eligible students may enter at any grade level.
  • If your child speaks little or no French, a variety of programs and strategies will be used to help them learn French and include them in activities taking place in French.
  • Many schools offer early French immersion beginning in Kindergarten or Grade 1.
  • Some schools also offer late French immersion beginning in Grade 6 or Grade 7.
  • Taking French as a Second Language courses (often referred to as FSL) is optional in Alberta. Students may begin learning French in either Grade 4 or Grade 10.
  • In some school districts, a local policy is in place which requires all students in the district to learn a second language, with one of those language offerings being French.
  • For more information regarding FSL programming options in your area, please contact your local school authority.

What about learning English?

  • Students registered in French first language, French immersion and French as a second language programs take the same English Language Arts program as all other Alberta students.
  • The development of reading and writing skills is the same in both languages. Once learned, these skills transfer easily from one language to the other.

What else should I know?

  • All courses taken by French first language, French immersion, and FSL students follow Alberta Education’s programs of study.
  • After learning more than one language, your child will have a greater ability to learn additional languages.

Where can I find out more?

The following parent resources can help you support your child’s educational experience in French. They offer a wealth of information.

For French first language:
Ressources créées par la Fédération des Parents Francophones de l’Alberta (FPFA).

For French immersion:
Yes, You Can Help! Information and Inspiration for French Immersion Parents (PDF, 403 KB)