French immersion debate top of mind for New Brunswick parents
With less than a month before they have to decide, some parents in New Brunswick say the province’s decision to move French immersion back to Grade 1 leaves them with little time to make their choice.
Parents have until Dec. 20 to make the decision as to whether they want to enroll their children in Grade 1, Grade 3 or Grade 6 French immersion entry points. There will be a variety of information sessions held across the province over the next several weeks.
Moving French immersion to begin in Grade one was a Liberal campaign promise in 2014.
Politicians on both sides of the debate weighed in this week, the Tories saying they want the plan shelved.
“The PC opposition is giving permission to the Gallant government to break this promise because so many people are against it," says PC MLA Jody Carr.
On Friday, CTV News spoke to parents and teachers outside of one Fredericton school and the reactions were mixed.
Parent Akin Makimwa had the conversation about his son with his wife on Thursday.
“Grade 1 is too low for him to start French,” says Makimwa. “But she's comfortable with Grade 3 because we have one child in Grade 3 and he's doing very well in French immersion class.”
Some parents say they feel pressured to keep their children with their friends.
"I’m nervous for my little girl who's going to go into Grade 1 and start French right away,” says parent Connie Wheaton. “I feel she might struggle with that because she's still trying to learn how to adapt into the world of teachers and school and learning and learning math and also learning to read in the English language."
Next year, student Ally Hoyt will be in Grade 3, and able to go into French immersion.
"I want to be in French immersion because if there are people speaking French I would like to learn their language," says Hoyt.
"It’s good for kids if they can start early, the earlier they start, the more they're going to learn,” says grandparent David Sullivan. “The foundations will be there when they get into the grades a little further along."
CTV News spoke with the New Brunswick Teachers' Association, who maintain the change will cause instability in an already stressed system.
Others worry what will happen to Anglophone teachers in Grades 1 and 2.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown