French

“Learning an additional language not only challenges a mind, it also teaches understanding, encourages patience, and fosters open-mindedness”

  • The Ontario Curriculum 2013, French as a Second Language, pg.7

There are many good reasons to learn an additional language. At Voice, we see our French program as a gateway to new opportunities, ways of understanding the world around us, connecting with Canadian and global heritage, and accessing diverse cultures. We see multilingualism as an essential component of global citizenship.

The central goal of our French program is language acquisition: reading, writing, and, most importantly, speaking! Throughout all grades, the language of instruction and student interaction is French. We offer an early introduction to French beginning in Grade 1, with a complete focus on oral communication in the primary grades. Grade 4 marks the beginning of our formal core French program, in which both reading and writing are introduced. Our program focuses on infusing music, dance, drama, visual arts, and students’ interests in order to make learning fun, engaging, effective, and relevant. Ultimately, we prepare students to use the language confidently and fluently in authentic contexts.

Primary

At Voice we offer an early introduction to French, beginning in Grade 1. Throughout the primary grades, students participate in a weekly French class entirely focused on building conversation skills. Through games, singing, acting, discussion, and teacher-led read-alouds, students will develop a comfort with the basic sounds, rhythms, and structures of the language. Our early introduction to French prepares our students to be successful and confident as they enter the formal Core French program in Grade 4.

Junior

Our Core French program, beginning in Grade 4, follows the Ontario Curriculum and builds on the AIM Language Learning model. The program utilizes a gesture-based approach and incorporates drama, music, dance and choral speaking to help students gain fluency, confidence and a joy of language learning. The program is both motivational and academically rigorous. It is designed to provide an experiential foundation and to develop a range of essential skills in reading, writing, and oral language, including a foundation in grammar, vocabulary and comprehension. The AIM program’s extensive and creative use of story and drama motivates and engages students, while building a strong academic foundation in French.

Another central element of the Core French program is the connection between language and culture. As such, each year, students will focus on a different locale of francophone culture and explore the foods, holidays, humor, and traditions of these cultures. The program begins with an exploration of local Franco-Ontarian culture in Grade 4 and then moves outward to Quebecois in Gr.5 and Franco-Canadian communities outside of Ontario and Quebec in Grade 6. When possible, field trips to francophone communities are used to offer an immersive and experiential opportunity to supplement and reinforce classroom experiences.

Intermediate

In Grade 7-8 core French, students strengthen and hone their second language skills as learned throughout the primary and junior grades, and apply these skills to various contexts. Students continue to focus largely on communication skills as they develop their ability to speak fluently, confidently, and accurately with peers and teachers thorugh the AIM Language Learning model. Intermediate students develop their abilities to write more complex texts in French, including stories, letters, emails, and posters. They also further develop language conventions such as grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, and use these conventions

meaningfully in the context of their writing. Building on the reading skills they’ve developed using AIM in the junior grades, Grade 7-8 students strengthen their reading fluency and comprehension by moving on to longer, more complex texts, such as a new play, newspapers, graphic novels, short stories, magazines, etc. Finally, students continue to engage in cultural learning and appreciation through engaging with the French traditions, foods, songs, legends, sites, peoples, and histories of the Americas, Europe and around the world.