The Foothills School Division is investigating the possibility of starting a late French Immersion program in Okotoks.

Students would start in Grade 5 instead of Kindergarten or Grade 1 and if there is enough interest and it proves to be successful they will add it to other communities.

They have sent a survey out to parents in Percy Pegler school in Okotoks and if 20 students sign up it will be a go in the fall of 2018.

French Immersion Facilitator Leslie Doell says starting in Grade 5 has been proven to be very successful in other school districts.

"The school division has been looking at opening up a second entry point for parents and families that are interested in enrolling their son or daughter in it. We are just exploring right now," said Doell.

The number one question Doell is asked is what will the program look like.

"So the students will be learning all of their core subjects in French. They will still have some English Language arts and perhaps an option or two in English."

One of the highlights of entering the program later is the student has more of a say if they want to do it.

By the time they hit Grade 9 they will be ready to join the students that started the program earlier and both programs go through high school together.

"It is a really exciting opportunity. I like that Grade 5 entry point because it really is the student that is deciding along with the parent."
Doell says some additional benefits include a positive impact on English literacy skills, increased cognitive ability, enhanced problem-solving skills, flexibility in thinking, broader cross-cultural competencies, preparation for the world of work and more post-secondary opportunities.

As soon as the survey closes there will be some meetings to share more information.

For more information go to the Foothills School Division website.


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