French immersion is the delivery of the regular British Columbia school curriculum in the French language. It enables students to become functionally bilingual and achieve levels of learning in all subject areas equivalent to the English program.
The Sooke School District offers both Early Immersion and Late Immersion programs.
Students who opt for Early Immersion usually enter the program in Kindergarten and continue their French studies through to grade twelve. In grade 12, they receive a ‘Double Dogwood’ (a bilingual graduation certificate). Students may also begin the program in Grade one.
From Kindergarten to grade three, all subjects are taught in French. Beginning in grade four, students receive 20% of their instruction in English. This pattern (80 percent French, 20 percent English) continues through to grade seven. In grades eight and nine, students receive 50-75% instruction in French. In grades 10 and 11, three courses are offered in French while in grade 12, one course is offered in French.
Students who choose late immersion will enter the French program in grade six. In grade eight they merge with the students who enrolled in early immersion.
Any child living in the Sooke School District (School District #62) may enter the program in Kindergarten or grade one. Children wishing to join the program after grade one need to demonstrate a good grasp of the language.
Core French or French as a Second Language is the study of French as a subject.
In grades five to seven, students receive approximately 75 minutes per week of instruction in French. When students reach grade eight, instruction time increases to 180 minutes. This continues through grade twelve.
Some students who complete this program become bilingual. The majority will increase their ability to communicate effectively in French. Successful completion of grade eleven French meets the standard entrance requirement for most B.C. and Canadian universities.
All elementary and Secondary Schools offer Core French from grades five through twelve.