Holy Spirit Catholic Schools offer Kindergarten programs in each of their elementary schools. These programs are designed to enhance the developmental needs of preschool children through active participation in the school environment. Kindergarten classrooms use theme exploration, learning centers, field trips and manipulative materials to allow children to develop age-appropriate skills and concepts. Our programs strongly encourage parents to become involved in the education of their children with classroom activities and local advisory committees. Together, the schools and the parents can build successful programs.
Combining French Language Learning and Catholic Education for Over 30 years...
Not only have Holy Spirit Schools been committed to French language learning for over three decades, but we are also a Catholic Faith Community dedicated to providing each student with an education rooted in the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Immersion in Our Schools
The Holy Spirit School Division offers French Immersion from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 for families in Lethbridge and surrounding areas at École St. Mary School, St. Francis Junior High and Catholic Central High School. We also offer French Immersion from Grade 1 to Grade 8 in Pincher Creek at St. Michael School.
In the immersion program, students achieve a high level of proficiency in French, while they continue to develop English language skills. In Kindergarten and grade 1, students spend over 90 per cent of their school time learning in French, with English being used in Religion and Health. English Language Arts is introduced in grade two. In junior high, students continue to learn their core subjects in French, using the language for over 60% of their day. In high school, students may take the following courses in French: French Language Arts, Religion, Career and Technology Studies, and Information and Communication Technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't speak French. Can my child be enrolled in French Immersion?
You don't have to speak French to help your child in French immersion. The French immersion program is designed for children of non-French speaking parents. If you want your child to develop proficiency in Canada's two official languages, and to learn about another culture, French immersion has a great deal to offer.
Will my child learn English and appropriate reading skills in immersion?
Fluency in English and French is the aim of immersion. Children benefit from learning in two languages - their thinking and reasoning skills improve, and English language skills are enhanced. Many studies have shown that French immersion actually improves reading achievement in both languages.
Many parents also believe that French immersion will give their child additional career opportunities. We live in an increasingly global economy, so proficiency in more than one language will be an advantage for career development and will give students a competitive advantage in the job market.
How can I help my child be successful in French immersion?
Learn as much as you can about the French immersion program.
Show your child that you are committed to the program.
Encourage your child and show an interest in what your child is learning.
Find ways to expose your child to French outside of school time. Borrow French books from the public library, listen to children's music by French artists, watch some French television programs, and visit French communities.
Join Canadian Parents for French
The Holy Spirit French Project
"How can we make second language learning more meaningful for students in Southern Alberta?" This is the primary challenge that pushes our French educators to find new experiences and innovative ways to teach our French Immersion and French as a Second Language students. In response to this challenging question, Holy Spirit Schools applied for and received funding through the Federal Action Plan for Official Languages. With this grant, we have been able to hire a French Project Leader whose main objective is to improve our both our French as a Second Language and Immersion programs. To meet this end, we are purchasing new resources for our classrooms and libraries, providing meaningful cultural activities and offering professional development opportunities to enhance program delivery.
Official Languages in Education Program - Holy Spirit Annual Project Report 2010-2011
June 2011 OLEP Project Highlights
Other French Second Language Programs
If you decide that French immersion is not the right choice for your child right now, your child still has the opportunity to learn French as a second language in all schools.
Core French - Students in grades 4 to 6 study French as a second language and may continue in French up to grade 12. Students in FSL develop a basic usable command of French.
French Connection Newsletter:
First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education
Students at the following schools are given the opportunity to take Blackfoot as part of their option program:
- Children of St. Martha School
- Ecole St. Mary School
- St. Francis Junior High School
- St. Michael's School
- Catholic Central High School
Elementary students throughout the Division are also involved in the Native Education program and are provided with many opportunities to experience Native culture and traditions. Native Education Program Assistants work with students, their families and the Native community to foster and honour the richness of Native culture.
St. Patrick Fine Arts Elementary School is designated as a school focusing on the fine arts - Music, Art and Drama, while maintaining a very strong academic program. As a magnet school, St. Patrick Fine Arts Elementary School offers transportation from most areas in Lethbridge. For more information call the school at 403-327-4386.
Advanced Placement, known as AP, is a program for academically strong and self-motivated students who wish to challenge themselves beyond the depth of the prescribed curriculum. In addition to the regular Alberta curriculum, students take advanced material for enrichment and challenge. The advanced material usually is presented in the form of project-based assignments and opportunities for individual exploration of topics. Students in AP classes have the option of writing the Advanced Placement examinations that occur in May. Successful completion of these exams may qualify students for some first year university credit, depending on the student's program. AP classes compliment the Alberta curriculum, helping students to be well prepared for the rigors of university. The Advanced Placement courses are challenging, and do require good work habits and additional time spent on homework. However, AP students also tend to be those involved in sports, fine arts and student service clubs. With careful time management, AP can enhance your high school experience without taking away from your after school activities.
Advanced Placement is offered at Catholic Central High School, St. Mary School, Taber and St. Michael's School, Pincher Creek.
Catholic Central High School Soccer, Hockey, and Golf Academies and St. Francis Soccer Academy are intended for highly motivated students who have a desire to significantly enhance their skills and knowledge of the sport within an academic setting.
The program enhances fundamental skills with emphasis on tactical understanding (decision making). Students are provided with an enriched environment comprised of information regarding training programs, sports nutrition and sport psychology. The focus of the program is to manage acceptable academic progress while advancing soccer/hockey and life skills.
Students will improve their time management, independence and organizational skills while developing an ability to achieve individual athletic goals. Students will be certified in Emergency First Aid with content emphasis on athletic injury prevention and care.