You enrolled your child in French Immersion because you were excited about the flurry of positive benefits the program provides. Maybe you even have a few friends who rave about the program and couldn’t be happier with their decision. But when your kids start coming to you for help with homework, reality sinks in…
“Help! I don’t speak French! What do I do?”
The good news is, you don’t have to speak French to support your child in French Immersion. Over the years, I’ve seen many thriving French immersion students with English-speaking parents. If you, too, want your child to have a positive French Immersion experience, you can support them in other ways.
Not sure how?
Here are my 5 best tips to support your child through their language learning adventure:
Keep French Resources At Home
Quick and easy access to French material is key in setting your child up for success. They will become more resourceful and independent learners by having to find answers on their own.
Be sure to purchase the Bescherelles reference books. They will be a life-saver for your child! You can start with “La conjugaison” and “L’Orthographe”. Or you could even start with, “le Français pour tous.”
Another great resource to keep handy is the “Keys to French collection” which is a quick reference tool created by Canadian Parents for French.
Play Fun French Games
At Camp Tournesol, we love to learn by playing games, especially with younger campers who are just beginning to learn French. One of our go-to activities is the French Bingo game that you can typically find at scholars choice. These bingo games help your child have fun while learning colors and other useful vocabulary.
We also love to play this fun game with the flashcards:
The Fly Swatter Game:Get a fly swatters for your child and maybe a friend. Place flashcards on the ground in front of them. Name an object and the kids should try to hit the right card. Be sure to let each child take a turn. You can also do another version of this game with stuffed animals. There are many variants of this game so don’t be afraid to use your imagination!
Help Your Child With “Les dictées”
You can help your child practice their spelling by reading vocabulary words aloud while they write. Plus they will get a kick out of correcting (and making fun of) your pronunciation! Dictées are an activity that children usually dread and struggle with in grade 1. So if you can get involved and help make it fun, it will go a long way to motivate your child.
Enroll Your Child In French Activities During The Summer
French play dates, excursions and summer day camps are a great way to keep your child progressing in French.
You can start by checking out all the activities that your local libraries offers, as well as some of the bigger attraction centers like the ROM and the Ontario Science Centre that offer french activities from time-to-time.
Don’t forget to look out for some fun French summer events. You definitely don’t want to miss the amazing annual summer festival Franco-fête in Toronto.
Remember, language is about practice. And just like any other skill, when you get out of practice you feel “rusty” and you lose confidence.
Show Genuine Interest
Simply showing interest in your child’s French education often makes the biggest difference! By being actively engaged in their learning, you show your child that learning French is exciting and not a chore.
However you help your child, the key is to be consistent. Your consistent effort combined with their desire to succeed will help them make leaps and bounds throughout their entire French Immersion journey.
It does little to help your child by repeating the fact that you do not speak French. Your child did not speak French either when they started, so show that you are making an effort and that you are impressed by their incredible progress. Your admiration of their effort is very important!
What do you do to support your child?
We’d love to hear your tips and strategies! Let us know in the comments below.