Late Entry French Immersion

Do you want your child to become bilingual?  It’s not too late!

Foothills School Division is excited to establish Grade 5 Late Entry French Immersion program at École Percy Pegler School in September of 2019. By offering an alternative entry point, more children would be able to achieve a high level of functional fluency in French, Canada’s second official language and as a result, reap the multiple benefits of bilingualism.

This program is designed for students who are not French. The students learn in French rather than about French. 75% of their studies will be in French for the first four years of the program.  When in Grade 9, they would then successfully join the early French Immersion program and study together until Grade 12.

Enrolment will be capped at 20-25 students. The program will run based upon sufficient registrations. Applications will be received on a first-come, first-serve basis and are available at Big Rock, Dr. Morris Gibson, Westmount or Ecole Percy Pegler School. In order to ensure staffing needs, the application deadline is set for April 9th, 2019.



  • Positive effect on intellectual growth.
  • Opens the door to other cultures and helps a child understand and appreciate people from other cultures.
  • Head start in post-secondary language requirements.
  • Increases job opportunities in many careers where knowing another language is an asset.
  • Develops superior problemsolving skills and improves overall school performance.
  • Enhances country's competitiveness abroad, improves global communication.
  • Improves understanding of country's history, development, and politics.
  • Helps students to score higher on standardized tests conducted in English.
  • Develops more flexibility in thinking, a better ear for listening, and a great sensitivity to language.
  • Future economic potential.
  • Impact on first language acquisition.



Students entering Grade 5 who are not already enrolled in the Early Immersion program are eligible. Children of residents of other school jurisdictions may also submit registrations.

Late Entry French Immersion may be the perfect program for you if you are a student who:

  • Has an interest in French.
  • Is looking for an academic challenge.
  • Has a willingness to take risks.
  • Has strong basic skills in the first language.
  • Has good work habits.
  • Has good listening skills.
  • Is an independent learner.
  • Is able to deal with frustration.
  • Has a support system to provide encouragement.
  • Has a strong sense of self and is able to laugh at mistakes.
  • Is motivated to learn and be successful.


What to Expect

  • Students achieve a high level of functional fluency in French by the end of Grade 12.
  • No detrimental effect on English language skills, in fact, first language skills are enhanced.
  • Late Entry French Immersion students do as well as their English program counterparts in other subject areas.
  • Immersion students develop a positive attitude and understanding of other cultures.
  • The more time learners spend immersed in their second language the more competent they become.
  • Brain research suggests that the ideal time to learn a second language is before puberty.
  • Students are learning by "successive approximation". This means that they will make mistakes, but the more they try, the better they get.
  • One of the biggest challenges is the considerable gab between the student's limited vocabulary and the complexity of the concepts studied in diverse material.


What will the school year look like?

September: Nervous excitement; basic survival vocabulary.
October - December: Begin Grade 5 curriculum; develop confidence in following directions in French.
January - March: Students begin to express themselves primarily in French.
April - June: Complete Grade 5 curriculum objectives and incorporate more written French.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do students cover the same curriculum?

A: YES. All courses, in both languages, are based on the same ministry expectations. Research shows that students in Late Entry Immersion Programs, after a brief adjustment period, can academically compete with students who are taught in their first language. While Late Entry Immersion students have a limited vocabulary when beginning in French Immersion, the program initially stresses vocabulary themes. Researchers point out that this initial emphasis does not have a long-term detrimental effect on other subject areas such as Math, Social Students, and Science.


Q: How fluent will my child become?

A: There is a myth that suggests that students in French Immersion will be perfectly bilingual after Grade 12. This ideal is very difficult to attain. In fact, few people can attain equibilingualism, which means they can speak both English and French like native-born speakers. We often forget to speak of bilingualism as being the ability to effectively, practically, and appropriately use a language for communication of a personal, scholastic, social, or professional nature. It is expected that your child will acquire a much greater language facility that students in the French as a Second Language (Core) program. Studies show that students who have the greatest contact with French have higher academic achievement. The goal is for students to be able to function effectively in the French Language. By the end of the Late Entry French Immersion Program, students will be reasonably expected to:

  • Read periodicals, magazines, newspapers, and books with ease.
  • Participate easily in coversations and discussions in French.
  • Understand radio and television programs in French.
  • Write with greater ease and accuracy than could be expected of students completing the Core French program.
  • Appreciate French literature and culture.
  • Pursue students in French at university.
  • Accept employment in which French is the working language should the student so choose.


Q: Is transportation available?

A: YES. The eligibility for transportation for Late Entry Immersion students is the responsibility of Foothills School Division for students residing within the Town of Okotoks. If a family lives in rural areas they must contact our transportation department at transportation@fsd38.ab.ca to confirm busing is available.


Q: Where do you recommend I visit to learn more about French Immersion?


Q: Who can answer my questions?

A: Visit our French Immersion webpage or contact our French Immersion Facilitator, Lesley Doell, can be reached at 403-422-1015 or lockhart-doelll@fsd38.ab.ca