French Immersion - One Month In
School started for us about six weeks ago, and it couldn't be going better. When it's time for your child to start school, you face a lot of decisions. In our case, we had decided that public school was our first choice, and then there were three schools in our area that we had to decide from. One was English only, and was just down the street. The next was a dual English / French Immersion school that had an excellent reputation, and the third was a french milieu that offered only french. We ended up going with the french milieu, which means that everything is in french - including gym and music (although I don't think those start until grade one).
Years ago, probably before we had children, we had talked about the value of giving our future kids a bilingual education. To me, the language itself didn't really matter - french, spanish, german - I just wanted my children to have the opportunity to learn a second language.
But then came the uncertainty... what if he hated it? Would he feel confused, because everyone was speaking in a different language? Would he fall behind? How would he learn to read? I had always heard that public school french immersion was like 'a free private school', but would this really be the case? Even after we decided on a school, and went for a visit, I still had some doubts. It seemed crazy to me that one teacher, and a teachers aid, could manage 21 four year olds.
Now, six weeks in, it's clear that Soren is thriving. He comes home from school singing songs in french - we ask him what he's singing and he explains it's the 'clean up song', the 'goodbye song', or the 'snack time song'. One of the children in his class speaks only french - his family has recently moved from France, and Soren talks about how they have to help him understand things. We talk to him about the importance of including people who may face extra challenges, and he excitedly told us that he helped this little boy learn to say hello.
We ordered some french books from his book order, and when they arrived I offered to read one. I have basic french skills, and figured I could probably manage to read a preschool book without much difficulty. Wrong. One sentence in, Soren told me the book was too hard for me, and we should pick an English book. Seems that I should be taking some language courses too...
I can't say how things will turn out in six months, a year, of five years down the road. But for now, we are very content in the decision we have made. And Soren's asking when we can take a trip to Paris - he'll have to be my translator:)