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

Chilliwack students learn about business and charity during entrepreneurship fair

Mt. Slesse Grade 8 kids will be donating 20 per cent of their business profits to the food bank

Work wrapping up in Chilliwack on the Valley Rail Trail expansion

The trail is envisioned as the north-south spine of a future cycling network

Chilliwack saw sub-tropical blast of warm air Wednesday

It didn’t break any official records but it was warmer than usual by several degrees

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

GW Graham wallops Ballenas Whalers in junior football playoff

Logan Buchwitz scored four touchdowns for the Grizzlies in a one-sided 40-0 win.

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read