Chilliwack parents want early French immersion

A group of Chilliwack parents are lobbying School District 33 to offer early French immersion to students.

The lack of early French immersion in Chilliwack is tantamount to a “missing link,” said parent Ron Plowright.

He’s one of several Chilliwack parents trying to raise awareness about the benefits of starting French immersion early at the kindergarten level.

“Trustees have said if the numbers are there, they’ll support it,” said parent Travis Forstbauer. “We want to work with the Chilliwack school district to find out if the numbers are there.”

Both Forstbauer and Plowright have children aged three and younger, and believe strongly in the benefits of acquiring a second language at a young age.

They’re so serious about lobbying for it at the local level, that some of the parents have set up a Parents for Early Immersion in Chilliwack Facebook page, which so far has 35 members.

“To learn a second language, especially like French, is invaluable for children,” said Forstbauer. “Having the opportunity to start French immersion when they’re first going to school is less time consuming for them.”

For him, starting in Grade 6, was “too late.”

Plowright said EFI holds “huge benefits” for the community and society as a whole.

“You get wired for language acquisition early in life,” he said. “I want my child to have the option to go to early French immersion.”

From what he can tell, Chilliwack is one of the largest communities which does not offer EFI.

The nearest school district that does offer EFI is Abbotsford.

The group of parents interested in EFI have started networking with the national organization, Canadian Parents For French.

“They’ve been a big help already,” said Plowright.

“Ultimately I think it will take Chilliwack parents standing up to say they want this to make it happen.”

The parents want to partner with the school district to “survey” parents to quantify support for the idea, and end the speculation about it.

“The school district has the clout and the tools, so we believe between them and us we can get this figured out,” Plowright said.

In September, the school district did survey prospective French immersion parents at a public consultation meeting and online to see how many would be interested in EFI.

Superintendent Michael Audet did not respond to a call made by the Progress prior to press deadline to clarify where the district is at with EFI.

The ad hoc group of parents hopes to gather a delegation of parents to attend a future school district meeting to make a presentation on the topic.

To find out more contact the group at earlyimmersion@gmail.com.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

~ with files from Katie Bartel

Just Posted

Mathieu Caron leads Chilliwack Chiefs to shutout win over Wenatchee Wild

Chilliwack’s netminder stopped 29 pucks Saturday night in a BCHL Showcase game at Prospera Centre.

Chilliwack Chiefs erase three goal deficit in overtime win

Down 3-0 to the Cowichan Capitals, the Chiefs came back to win 4-3 in the BCHL Showcase match.

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack man has been found

Chilliwack RCMP is thanking the public for keeping an eye out

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Porsche impounded for going 138 km/hr in 90 zone during charity rally

West Vancouver Police said wet roads and heavy rain made it extra dangerous

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Phase 2 of $1.35B Royal Columbian upgrades won’t be a public-private partnership

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says it will be a design-build

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Man facing charges after allegedly climbing into police car, spraying fire extinguisher

Vancouver police say the man appeared to be under the influence of drugs

Most Read