Frequently Asked Questions

How are French Immersion Programs different from French-language schools?

In a French-language school, students live and learn in French. Indeed, the experience is different from immersion programs. Immersion programs play a complementary role, increasing the number of anglophones proficient in French as a second language.

In French-language Schools, students not only learn all curriculum subjects in French, but are also fully intergated in a francophone environment where they can participate in many cultural activities and sports in French.

In French-language Schools, ALL classes except English are taught in French. Upon graduation, our students can expect to be highly proficient both in English and in French and be part of the francophone culture and community.

How can I support my child in a French School?

Many parents wonder how they will be able to support their children and prepare them for a French-language education if they don’t speak French. Most families in our schools have only one parent who speaks French. The most important factor that will have an impact on your child’s experience is your attitude.  Showing your child that you value the language and encouraging him to play in French and to live and experience the culture will help develop his sense of identity.

There are many small steps parents can take to ensure that the French language is prominent and valued in your home.

If you are French-speaking:

  • Speak French as often as possible
  • Attend preschool programs in French where available (Centre Grandir en français in Thunder Bay) or have playdates with other francophone families.
  • Give French a prominent place in your home, i.e.: television, radio, books, French conversation at the dinner table, etc.
  • Read to your child in French (15 minutes every day)
  • Play games with your child en français
  • Do daily activities in French, i.e. write your grocery list and notes to your children in French; record a French message on your answering machine, etc.
  • Speak up in public! Encourage your favorite hockey team in French!
  • Attend the PTA meetings and volunteer your help for school activities.

If you are English-speaking:

  • If you have a French-speaking partner, support him or her in using French at home.
  • Encourage the child’s francophone relatives to speak French with your child, even if you don’t understand.
  • Develop routines that include simple French, i.e. songs, nursery rhymes, counting to 5 before going to bed, etc.
  • Show your pride in speaking French: say Bonjour to your child’s French friends and learn to pronounce their names the French way.
  • Provide French music for your child to listen to at home or in the car. Try to learn the songs with them.

Will my child have access to School Bus Transportation?

School Bus Transportation is available for all students living in the municipalities and surrounding areas in which we have schools. We provide safe and efficient transportation for our students through the following transportation consortiums:

  1. Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay for the Thunder Bay region
  2. East of Thunder Bay Transportation Consortiumor the areas of Greenstone (Longlac, Geraldton,and Nakina), Terrace Bay and Marathon.
  3. Northwestern Student Services Consortium for the areas of Ignace, Dryden and Red Lake.

How does the curriculum of French-language schools differ from that of English schools?

The Ministry of Education develops all of Ontario’s schools’ curriculum. The content and expectations are the same throughout the province. However, the curriculum for French-language schools is culturally appropriate and adapted to the francophone reality. Students in our schools learn Ontario’s curriculum entirely in French, in a French cultural setting. In our schools, English is taught from grade 4 to grade 12. In High School, students follow the same curriculum in their English class as the one delivered in English schools.

What if my child doesn’t speak French yet?

In areas such as Northwestern Ontario where French is not the predominant language, it can be difficult to create a francophone environment at home. Discussions regarding language usage at home often do not occur until it is time to choose a school for your child. This is very common and should not prevent you from giving your child the opportunity to learn both of Canada’s official languages.

If your preschool child does not speak or understand French, rest assured that he or she will be fully integrated and comfortable in our schools. Our teachers are trained and experienced in dealing with this reality and provide a warm and comfortable environment where your child will quickly become fluent in French.

Why an advertising campaign?

Many parents in Northwestern Ontario have the constitutional right to a French-language education for their child, but do not exercise this right. They may be unaware of this right or have been misinformed about the type of education their child could receive in a French-language school.

Some parents may think that their child would not learn English in a French-language school when in fact our students complete elementary and secondary school with the same level of English as students in English schools.

The CSDC des Aurores boréales has a legal responsibility to inform parents of their rights. This is why we deemed it necessary to launch an awareness campaign in order to reach parents who speak little or no French and inform them of their constitutional rights or explain how to go about acquiring these rights if they so desire.