What is Canadian Parents For French?

Canadian Parents for French is the Canada-wide volunteer network of thousands of individuals and families interested in creating and promoting French second-language learning opportunities for young people.

What do we do?

CPF works with teachers, principals, administrators, trustees, and other community leaders to maintain and strengthen French second language programs.Across Canada:In your province or territory:In your community:

Why learn French?

French opens the door to travel and work in all parts of Canada and in any of the 30 countries around the world where French is spoken.
French helps children develop learning skills they can use for the rest of their lives. Researchers say that children who learn a second language have better problem-solving skills. French is a stepping stone to learning other languages, particularly similar languages such as Spanish and Italian. For more reasons to learn French visit www.majbill.vt.edu/fll/french/whyfrench.html

What is the difference between core French and French immersion?

In core French, your child learns French as a specific subject within the curriculum of English-language schools.
In French immersion programs, ideally all activities and learning, except for English language arts classes, are in French.

Are the results from core French programs very different from French immersion?

Yes. Students can achieve a moderate level of proficiency in core French programs while graduates of early French immersion are expected to be functionally bilingual.

Are extra-curricular activities in French important?

Yes. Language is alive; using French outside the classroom reinforces your child's language learning.

Do children in early French immersion have a problem adapting to school and to learning a new language at the same time?

Children adapt differently to their first experiences with school, but learning a second language doesn't seem to confuse them. Your child's teacher will help to make your child's first experiences in school pleasant ones.

What about English language skills? Will they suffer if my child is in French immersion?

The proficiency of both French immersion and English stream students in English language arts is the same by the end of elementary school, although there will be a lag in the early years.

Is French immersion for everyone?

Immersion is suitable for children of all academic abilities. French immersion may present an additional challenge to your child but it is not to be confused with enrichment. It is a program developed for the specific purpose of giving Anglophone school children the opportunity to become bilingual, while still maintaining their English skills. The Immersion method was created for children whose classroom language is not their first language. If you have any specific concerns talk to your teacher.

What if my child needs extra help or an extra challenge?

Not all schools offer remedial or enrichment activities in French, although many schools do have resource teachers who are bilingual. CPF encourages school boards to provide similar support services in both languages. A child with learning difficulties should not have to leave the program to get help.

How will I be able to help if I don't speak French?

Your encouragement and belief in the value of a second language will strengthen your child's learning experiences. Ask the teacher and/or your CPF chapter to suggest some out of school French language activities that will be both fun for the family and add to the school program.

Why should students stay in immersion until they graduate?

While it is true that students can communicate well in French by the time they reach junior high, they need the senior high school years to give them a broader vocabulary, more complex constructions, and greater familiarity with the social usages of the language. The longer they continue to learn in the French language and the more subjects they take in French, the more fluent they will become.

What about continuing French at the post-secondary level?

Opportunities vary across Canada. There is a need for more courses in French at the post-secondary level. Some post-secondary institutions offer special courses for graduates of Immersion programs. Bursaries are available for those wishing to study at French language institutions.

How available is French immersion?

Over 250 school boards and districts across Canada offer French Immersion programs. The CPF Immersion Registry will tell you which schools have French Immersion programs in every province and territory.

What is a quality core French program?

A good core French program should:
Begin early in elementary school and continue through secondary school
Include at least 40 minutes of instruction daily
Be taught by a teacher who is fluent in French
Use French as the language of communication in the classroom
Follow a curriculum emphasizing communicative skills and vocabulary suitable to the age and interests of the students
Provide opportunities to use French in communication with native speakers
Have French-language materials in the school library at a level that the students can read and understand
Provide out-of-classroom opportunities to use French
Include written and audio-visual materials that foster an appreciation of the cultures of French-speaking people.

Where is core French offered?

Newfoundland & Labrador

French as a second language is not compulsory at any level but most students in grades 4 to 9 take FSL. Since 1998-99 students must obtain eight credits in language Arts for high school graduation, six of which must be English; the other two may be English or FSL.

Prince Edward Island

Core French is compulsory from grades 4 to 9 with some exceptions for students with special needs. Optional courses are available in grades 10 to 12 with the possibility of one course at senior high school level being used as one of the language courses required for graduation. Four language courses are required, of which one can be a second language.

Nova Scotia

Core French is compulsory in grades 4 to 6. Since September 1997 it is required in junior high school, beginning in grade 7, for the first time. This requirement extends to grade 8 in September 1999. Where offered, Mi'kmaq or Gaelic will meet this requirement.

New Brunswick

Core French is compulsory for all students from grades 1 to 10 and is available in grades 11 and 12.


Core French is compulsory from grade 1 to the end of high school.


Core French is compulsory in grades 4 to 8 and a course requirement in grade 9. French must be offered up to and including grade 12.


Core French is not compulsory at any level, but is widely taken as an option. Some school divisions have compulsory components. Government policy encourages school divisions to enter into a nine-year (grades 4 to 12) or a six-year (grades 7 t0 12) program.


Core French is not compulsory at any level but is widely taken as an option, particularly at the elementary level.


Core French is not compulsory at any level but is offered by most school boards.

British Columbia

A second language is now compulsory from grades 5 to 8. Though most often French, it may be, for example, Punjabi or Mandarin.


Core French is available in grades 1 to 12. A second language is compulsory for students in grades 5 to 8. Though often French, it may be an Aboriginal language.

Northwest Territories

Core French is not compulsory at any level. A board may choose to offer French or one if the Territory's official Aboriginal languages at any time in K to grade 12.

Some Quick Facts of CPF!!

CPF works with the Federal Government and national organizations involved in education to create an environment supportive of French second language education.

CPF provides volunteer training and development

CPF provides information and resources about French second language learning.

CPF works with your Ministry or Department of Education, teacher organizations, and other groups concerned about education to ensure that there is support for French second language education.

CPF organizes French language activities for students from across the province or territory

CPF organizes in-school activities, such as, winter carnivals, performances by French speaking artists and a myriad of activities that support and enhance learning French.

CPF sponsors out-of-school programs – such as winter and summer camps, exchanges, educational visits and weekend workshops for all students learning French.

CPF fundraises to support these activities and to provide enrichment materials.

CPF has over 25,000 members across Canada.

Operates in some 160 local chapters in communities from St. John's, Newfoundland to Campbell River, British Columbia

Has provincial/territorial branches and branch offices.

Is overseen by a volunteer board of directors supported by a small professional staff.

Believes French is integral part of Canada.

Advocates quality French second language learning opportunities for all Canadian children.

Strives to raise public awareness of the value of French as a second language.

Answers thousands of requests each year for information and assistance regarding French second language education from parents, educators, researchers, the media, and the general public.

Works with many partners to further its mission.

Provides French language experiences and opportunities to thousands of Canadian children each year.

Provides training and support to hundreds of volunteers each year through workshops, training, modules, materials and telephone conferences.

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