Thursday, February 11, 2010

Parlons Francais!

So, today, that long-awaited letter (ok, maybe it just felt like ages!) arrived today, informing us that my son has been guaranteed a space in French Immersion this Fall for kindergarten.

I'm so stoked!

Everyone who got accepted -- about 44 kids -- were to find out by this Friday, Feb 12, if we were accepted or put on a wait-list. We got the letter saying we got in! It was about a 1 in 2 chance of getting into the program, given the number of applicants for spaces.

So now my husband and I have about 10 or so days to talk it over and decide what we're going to do. If we accept the spot, we forfeit our spaces at the other schools we've applied to, which makes sense. We did, at the same time, also receive a letter from our default school that we've been accepted there too. We just haven't heard yet from the third school if there are spaces available and if we would fill one of those spots.

But, assuming we were accepted to all three schools, which school would I choose?

The dilemma in this is that whatever we decide will drastically impact my kids' (yes, BOTH kids) education AND life.

Option 1: Choose the French Immersion school

  • My younger son would be able to be automatically allowed admission into the program, as would any other siblings that follow (ahem, none yet!);
  • My kids would automatically be allowed admission to the French Immersion high school, which happens to be a very good, well-respected school (great Fine Arts & Science programs, complete with IB program too, with grads going to Ivy League schools), a school we probably wouldn't have a chance to get into if he studied "in English" since we'd be out-of-catchment;
  • kids in French Immersion grow up and "stay together" through the years, going through school, so they'll have a tight relationship (and I heard the parents are nice too!);
  • it's a small school, with a lot of personalized attention and resources;
  • he gets a chance at a bilingual future, unlike me, who missed the boat when I moved here from Montreal when I was 8 years old.


  • it's only half-day kindergarten next year, while most other schools will be full-day kindergarten. Possible daycare costs to be incurred;
  • it's an Annex school, meaning after Grade 3, he'll have to go to the Main School, a little farther away, meaning I'll eventually have two kids in two different schools most of the time;
  • until we move, the school is actually in the opposite direction from work, and across a major artery, so morning traffic will be a bitch;
  • I still don't know how after-school care will be handled when he's a little older;
  • will I still be able to help him out with homework, despite my limited French.
  • his English reading and writing skills will likely lag for a few years, taking a while to catch up.
Option 2: Stick him in a regular English classroom

  • his reading and writing skills should develop at the usual rate.
  • he won't have the same level of French proficiency had he started in FI instead.
As you can see, there are not that many issues when dealing with the English-track curriculum. Not so in the case of the French route: possibly more pros and cons I haven't listed yet.

I'll be doing more research, but I'm leaning on sticking him French Immersion and hoping for the best!


  1. Hey Cheryl, thats so awesome. I am so for the french immersion. Learning another language is always easy at a young age. English just comes by nature since you guys speak it at home. When my daughter comes of age we are planning to get her in the same program but we call it a dual language magnet school. Where they learn most of their subjects in Spanish and one subject in Japanese and another subject in english. I think its pretty awesome that there are school system out there that have these options. Wishing you nothing but the best Cheryl.

  2. This is an interesting dilemma, one that I've thought about altho we don't have kids yet. Especially the after-school care part, so i'm interested to know what solutions you come up with. Do you have the luxury of grandparents who can pick up and take care of the kids?

    Even tho I did univ, post grad, the whole bit I remember very very fondly my SAHM, taking me to school, sometimes even coming home at lunch, walking home at 3pm all the way up to grade 5/6 when I could walk to school myself.

    I recently found your blog and its great! I even ordered some minerals! hee - Z

  3. To ordered minerals? LOL. Which ones? I hope you're liking them so far. I switch back and forth between my minerals and the MAC Studio Fix, depending on what I have on hand. But I've got so many mineral foundation samples that I've been playing around my Dreamworld Minerals samples and setting powders and falling in love with them again! LOL!

    As per your post: yes, I have my parents to help with the after-school daycare, so I'm sure I'll figure something out when the time comes.

    IsaLeiese: thanks for the encouragement! Bilingualism rocks, huh? :D