Holy Spirit's French Language Education page

French Language Education

All inquiries about the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division's French Language Programs can be directed to:  

Wendy Urquhart, French Language Consultant
St. Basil Catholic Education Centre
620 12B Street North, Lethbridge, AB  T1H 2L7
(403) 331-4458


French as a Second Language

FSL is offered in most schools from Grades 4 to 12.  Students enjoy learning basic French skills and appreciate various traditional celebrations closely linked to our Catholic faith such as: la Toussaint, la Sainte-Catherine, l'Épiphanie, and la Chandeleur.


French Immersion 

The French Immersion Program is offered across Canada and is designed for children whose parents do not speak French. In this program, students learn most of their subjects in French; this enables students to achieve functional bilingualism while promoting an appreciation of Francophone culture. 

French Immersion is available to all those who wish to enrol their child from Early Learning to Grade 1, and is offered in the following Holy Spirit Catholic Schools:

In Lethbridge:

In Pincher Creek:

Once enrolled in a French Immersion program, a student becomes resident to their closest French Immersion school.  As such, students who live 2.4 km or more from their closest French Immersion school are eligible to receive transportation. 


Myths and Realities about Attending a French Immersion Catholic School

The decision to enrol your young student in a French Immersion Program is an individual one that must support the needs of both your child and your family.  To provide you with as much information as possible, and dispell any misinformation, here are some responses to concerns we we often hear:

Myth: As a parent, I have to be able to speak French for my child to attend French Immersion.

Reality: You do not have to speak French for your child to be a part of the French Immersion Program.

Myth: It will be hard for my child to learn French if I do not speak it myself.

Reality: There will be challenges but there are many resources available and teachers will support you various ways. French Immersion is designed for families with no spoken French at home.

Myth: My child will have delayed English language skills compared to their English peers.

Reality: There is an intensive French focus in the early years, and there may be spelling confusion and French pronunciation as your child learns to read. That being said, between Grades 3 and 6, French Immersion students catch up, and perform as well or better than their unilingual peers.

Myth: I will not be able to help my child with homework.

Reality: Reading is reading, and math is math! By taking an interest and encouraging your child, you are reinforcing that learning is important. Your teacher and school can suggest further supports.

Myth: My child will be confused speaking two different languages.

Reality: Our brains can compartmentalize languages and understanding in one language actually increases comprehension in the other language. In addition, bilingual and multilingual students often have a broader vocabulary due to common word families.

Myth: Children who speak another language at home should not enroll in French Immersion.

Reality: Our brains compute language in patterns, rules, and categories. Children who are learning other languages often have an easier time learning additional languages.

Myth: Children will not be exposed to the depth of understanding in subject matter if they are in the French Immersion Program.

Reality: The French Immersion Program in Alberta demands students learn the same outcomes as their English-only counterparts. Additional languages provide additional perspectives and attitudes when studying the Alberta curriculum, and also provide opportunities for dialogue in both English and French.





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