Gateway Gazette

Do you Want your Child to Become Bilingual? It’s not too late!

Late Entry French Immersion Available through Foothills School Division

Foothills School Division is excited to establish a 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, study together until Grade 12, and graduate with their early French Immersion peers.

How to Apply

Class enrolment will be between 18-25 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, Red Deer Lake, Turner Valley, C. Ian McLaren, Millarville, Heritage Heights, or Ecole Percy Pegler School.

Families may also complete the Student Registration Form.  This form can be scanned and emailed to Linda Jones ( or Dea Sicotte (

In order to ensure staffing needs, the application deadline is set for March 27, 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 problem-solving 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 French Immersion program are eligible. Children of residents of other school jurisdictions may also submit registrations.

Late Entry French Immersion may be an ideal program for a child who:

  • Has an interest in French.
  • Is looking for an academic challenge.
  • Has a willingness to take risks.
  • Has adequate basic skills in their first language.
  • Has acceptable 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.”

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.

Family Information Session

Wednesday February 27, 2019 – 7:00pm
Ecole Percy Pegler School
69 Okotoks Dr, Okotoks AB T1S 2B1

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do students cover the same curriculum?

A: YES. All courses, in both languages, are based on the same Alberta Education expectations. Research indicates 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 emphasizes vocabulary building.  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: The goal is for students to be able to function effectively in the French language at a B1 or B2 level according to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). By the end of the Late Entry French Immersion Program, students will be reasonably expected to:

  • Communicate with fluency and spontaneity with native French speakers.
  • Read French websites, magazines, newspapers, and books with ease.
  • Produce clear and detailed texts on a wide range of subjects in French.
  • Understand radio and television programs in French.
  • Appreciate French literature and culture.
  • Pursue studies in French at university.
  • Accept employment in which French is the working language.

Q: Is transportation available?

A: YES. Transportation of eligible Late Entry Immersion students is the responsibility of Foothills School Division.  No fee transportation may be available for families residing in the Town of Okotoks and rural feeder schools (Red Deer Lake, Turner Valley, C. Ian McLaren, Millarville, and Heritage Heights).

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

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