Alberta Education says: “Inclusion means that all students have equitable opportunities to be included in the typical learning environment or a program of choice. … The French Immersion program can provide a welcoming environment and the same supports for students with diverse learning needs as other programs.” For more information, take a look at:

Diverse Learners – Meeting the Needs of Each Student

Alberta Education’s Guide to Education

“Experts … believe that there is no reason to exclude any students from French Immersion programs. For many students, even those who may appear to struggle with learning, the benefits outweigh the challenges and help build better language strategies in ways that might not be possible in an English-only program.” Indicators of Inclusive Schools

Academically Challenged Students and French Second Language Programs The Executive Summary of CPF’s 2012 report on The State of French Second Language Learning in Canada features six very accessible summaries of presentations by researchers and experienced educators:

  • Access to Special Education for Exceptional Pupils in French Immersion Programs: An Equity Issue
  • The Suitability of Immersion for All Learners: What Does the Research Say?
  • Myths, Policies, and Research: The Case of a New Brunswick Grade 3 French Immersion Entry Point
  • Exceptional Learners: Honouring and Accommodating a Different Way of Learning
  • Closing the Window to Open the Door: Preparing for More Inclusive French Immersion Classes
  • Meeting Student Needs in French Immersion: Learning and Literacy Programming

As well as the recommendations from a June 2012 roundtable on this topic. See also the handout: Factsheet for Parents

“The heterogeneous classroom is the reality of the 21st century.” – Martine Pellerin, PhD, in: Inclusive Practice in French Immersion

Whether your French immersion child is experiencing a mild learning difficulty or has a special need, you doubtless have questions about what you can and should do. Following are some resources of special interest to parents.

Strategies for “coaching” your child

This a series of articles by an immersion teacher and special education specialist written especially for CPF Alberta.

Part 1 appeared in the spring 2007 edition of the CPF Alberta News. It talks about the first steps to take, and then offers strategies for non-French-speaking parents to “coach” their children in reading, writing and mathematics.

Part 2 appeared in the fall 2007 edition of the CPF Alberta News.

Part 3 appeared in the winter 2007/08 edition of the CPF Alberta News.

Part 4 deals with auditory problems in French immersion. It first appeared in the spring 2008 CPF Alberta News.

Yes, You Can Help! Information and Inspiration for French Immersion Parents

Yes, You Can Help! was written by unilingual parents who relied on their joint 30 years of experience with French immersion in three provinces as well as their active involvement with CPF. They were assisted by an advisory committee of teachers, administrators, researchers, and education department staff. The book is published by Alberta Education and sold at cost. Look for the chapters “Why isn’t my child happy at school?” and “But my child is…!”

Literacy development in French immersion

The Focus on literacy in immersion section of this web site includes a wealth of information and tips on this subject.

The CPF Peer Tutoring Literacy Program

CPF’s Peer Tutoring Literacy Program is aimed at fostering literacy in French immersion. It is designed for Grade 2 and 3 students who are experiencing moderate difficulties with French reading who would benefit from extra reading support.

Implemented by a teacher coordinator and parent volunteers, it pairs readers with trained tutors from Grades 5, 6 and 7. The tutors and readers meet twice a week for a 30-minute guided reading session. Readers are chosen on the basis of teachers’ recommendations and assessments of their reading skills. Trained tutors are paired with readers by the teacher coordinator following input from the classroom teachers.

The program manual and instructional DVD are available to CPF members free of charge except for shipping and handling costs. Click on the link above to learn more or to obtain the program materials.

Questions about speech development?

Parents play an important role in their child’s speech and language development. The Talk Box web site shares ideas and activities for creating language-rich environments. It has everyday tips, information about what to expect in speech and language development, when to get help, and where to get help.

The Learning Team: A Handbook for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Click here to download for free from the Alberta Education web site.

The Journey: A Handbook for Parents of Children who are Gifted and Talented

Click here to download for free from the Alberta Education web site.

The Parent Advantage: Helping Students Become Successful Learners at Home and School – Grades 1-9

Click here to read it online

Additional information about special education in Alberta

Standards for Special Education to read or download this Alberta Education document re rights, responsibilities, appeals

Special Education Coding Criteria

Funding for Special Education Needs

Nancy Wise – French Immersion Educational Consulting Inc.

Nancy Wise provides consultation services to assist parents who are either considering a French immersion placement for their child or questioning whether or not to keep their child in a French immersion program. She can also serve as a dual-language education advocate for children with learning challenges who are enrolled in French immersion schools. Individual consultations can be arranged in person, by phone, or via Skype.
Email: nwise@frenchimmersionconsulting.com Tel: 416-566-4553.
Website: www.frenchimmersioneducationalconsulting.com