06.22.15 | Bilingualism, Education

5 Tips To Support Your Child In French Immersion When You Don’t Speak French

French camp counsellor with camperSetting Your Child Up For Success In French Immersion

 

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.”

 

These books can be purchased at the archambault.ca site or the Chapters site.

 

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

 

kids in French immersion playing a game.Using flashcards is a great way to help your child have fun while practicing their French vocabulary. Turn it into a competition where they feel eager to beat their last score.

 

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

group of kids in French immersion performing

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

 

child and parent working on French homework togetherSimply 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.

Comments

  1. Dear Martine,
    This past summer my daughter, Rebecca, was enrolled in your French camp at James Culnan and really enjoyed it. I happen to be on James Culnan’s Parent Council and we are in the mist of updating our parent run ‘Catholic School Parent Council’ website. We have a section on our site dedicated to ‘Parent Resources’ which mostly consists of website links to homework resources. We are really in need of adding some French resources for our families. Three years ago, our school introduced French immersion and we have French extended. This year we are introducing French immersion at the JK level and there will be at least 3 French immersion JK classes. Could you possibly recommend a list of French websites that would be useful to parents that we can post on our site? Naturally, we will be posting your site too. As well, we barely have any French books in our library (so sad) and our Parent Council is trying to rectify this. We have applied to the Indigo grant program, but didn’t win anything this time around. They encourage us to try again (apparently it can take up to 4 attempts to win a grant for most schools). Can you recommend how we can get our hands on free or cheap French books, especially for kids between JK and grade 3? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Our website recently changed its name from: http://www.jamesculnancsac.org to http://www.jamesculnanparentcouncil.org
    Please feel free to check out our site (e.g. we appreciate constructive feedback too); our homework tabs are under ‘Education’. Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Merci,
    Maureen Smith
    getmosmith@gmail.com

    Comment by Maureen on Thursday August 27th, 2015 at 09:53 AM
  2. 1) Subscribe to a french magazine such as debrouillards in your child’s name. It is exciting for them to get mail.
    2) buy Music in french for the children. There are some good folk music singers with traditional french songs for kids. Fun for the whole family to listen to!
    3) If you take long drives to cottages or road trips in the summer, you can order audio books in french from the library (order them well in advance), then listen to them on the road.

    Comment by Nelle Hyde on Friday September 4th, 2015 at 12:26 PM

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