Early French Immersion

What are the goals of the Early French Immersion Program?

The Early Immersion Program enables students to:

  • achieve levels of learning in all subject areas equivalent to the English Program;
  • by the end of Grade 4, reach a level in English Language Arts equivalent to students in the regular program;
  • become functionally bilingual, that is to:
    • participate comfortably in French and English conversations;
    • be able to pursue further education appropriate to their abilities and interests, with French as the language of instruction;
    • be qualified for employment where the working language is French;
    • gain insight into the common attitudes and values of French-speaking communities.

For registration information please visit Early French Immersion Registration.
For registration dates please visit Important Dates.


Elementary Early French Immersion is offered at the following schools:

Campus View3900 Gordon Head Road V8P 4X3250-477-0178K - 5
Doncaster1525 Rowan Street V8P 1X4250-595-3611K - 5
George Jay1118 Princess Avenue V8T 1L3250-385-3381K - 5
Macaulay1010 Wychbury Avenue V9A 5K6250-385-3441K - 5
Margaret Jenkins1824 Fairfield Road V8S 1G8250-598-5191K - 5
Marigold3751 Grange Road V8Z 4T2250-479-8256K - 5
Quadra2780 Richmond Road V8R 4T4250-382-8296K - 5
Sir James Douglas401 Moss Street V8V 4N2250-382-7788K - 5
Willows2290 Musgrave Street V8R 5Y2250-592-2486K - 5

Middle School French Immersion is offered at the following schools:

Arbutus Middle School2306 Edgelow Street V8N 1R5250-477-18786-8
Cedar Hill Middle School3910 Cedar Hill Road250-477-69456-8
Central Middle School1280 Fort Street250-386-35916-8
Lansdowne Middle School1765 Lansdowne Road V8P 1A7250-598-33366-8
Shoreline Middle School2750 Shoreline Drive V9B 1M6250-386-83676-8

Secondary French Immersion is offered at the following schools:

Esquimalt Secondary847 Colville V9A 4N9250-382-92269-12
Oak Bay Secondary2151 Cranmore Road V8R 1Z2250-598-33619-12
Reynolds Secondary3963 Borden Street V8P 3H9250-479-16969-12
Victoria High School1260 Grant Street V8T 1C2250-388-54569-12

Who Can Register? 

Any child residing in the Greater Victoria School District (School District No. 61) may enter the Early or Late French Immersion Program. Out-of-district families are also accommodated when possible. The usual entry year for Early French Immersion is Kindergarten, although students may also enter in Grade 1. For Late French Immersion the entry year is Grade 6.

Most children entering Kindergarten know very little or no French. A child needs prior knowledge of French to enter the Early Immersion Program after Grade 1. Transportation, if required, is the responsibility of the parent. French is the language of instruction in all French Immersion classes. The chart featured below highlights the percentage of French used by grade level.

Registration takes place at the same time as Kindergarten registration for the English stream. To register, contact your French Immersion catchment school.

For more information on how to register for Early French Immersion please visit Early French Immersion Registration.

How can I identify my French Immersion Elementary School?

Identify your catchment French Immersion Elementary School using our Early French Immersion Path Finder .

How much French will my child speak in the classroom?

Kindergarten is 100% French. English may be used at the outset to establish routines. English is used only if necessary in exceptional situations after this. The subjects studied in French may vary slightly in Grades 4 to 12, depending on the specialization areas of the teacher.

Do children read and write in English and French?

Pre-reading exercises in Kindergarten are in French; reading and writing begin in French in Grade 1. Formal instruction in English Language Arts begins in Grade 3, with one hour a day.

Is transfer to an English class possible?

A transfer to English can be arranged at any time on parent request.

Do children in French Immersion learn the same things as those in English classes?

Research carried out throughout Canada has resulted in very similar findings to those of Dr. Stan Shapson, Dr. David Kaufman and Ms. Elaine Day of Simon Fraser University.

The main findings are:

  • children in French Immersion Kindergarten are as well prepared for Grade 1 as children in the regular English program
  • children learning Mathematics in French make progress equal to that of children learning it in English
  • while there is a lag in English Language Arts in Grade 1 and Grade 2, the only area showing a significant difference between French Immersion children and regular English program children in Grade 3 is spelling
  • by the end of Grade 4, most children in Immersion are equal in all aspects of English Language Arts with children in the regular English program

How much French do the children learn?

While comprehension of French comes quickly in Kindergarten, the ability to speak comes much more slowly, particularly fluent speech sentences. However, during Grade 1, children begin to communicate spontaneously with one another in French.

Is learning assistance available in French?

French-speaking remedial teachers help children who have difficulties in French Language Arts and Arithmetic. Children who would have had difficulty learning to read English also usually have difficulty learning to read French. In general, it is the actual reading skills that these children find difficult rather than the language used.


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