The Best  of Both  Worlds






Yes, it's true. Your child will be smarter than you when he/she starts French Immersion and masters a new language. I assure you though, it's really not a bad problem to have - read on to find out why.

Imagine the following situation:

Your young child has a French spelling test, a language that neither you nor any one immediately surrounding you is familiar with. Your child has come to you for help and besides the funny pronunciation that is sure to ensue, you come across an utterly foreign word like “dégâts”, " égoïste" or " ils conquièrent". You think of a clever way to try to say the word to your child without giving yourself away, but let's face it, there is something a little odd with these words. There are an array of random-looking  symbols on the vowels, you vaguely remember that in French you don't actually pronounce the ends of some words, and yesterday your daughter reminded you that when you say the letter "g" in English, it actually means "j" in French... what's a parent to do?

C'est what? My child knows something that I don't??

Welcome to French Immersion! Being the parent(s) of a child in French Immersion can prove difficult, especially in the area of homework, for the simple fact that you are no longer the subject matter expert. If your child tells you that the word 'Vache' means 'cow' you really have no proof or point of reference other than to ask the World Wide Web  - which you do -  and Google confirms that that your little genius is correct. For some, this can prove scary at times and definitely overwhelming. However French Immersion does not have to be a road block, or a deal-breaker. In fact, teaching your child another language is giving them the keys to a limitless future; one in which they become the teacher and you can both learn together.

In an effort to prepare you for what is to come, I invite you to remember a couple of quick DO's and DONT's that stand out for me as a former French Immersion student myself, and now as an member of the administration team at Emerson Academy:

DO - encourage your child to review what they have learned at school in French with you whether you understand it or not. When you give your child the chance to teach or show you what they have learned, you are not only building his/her confidence, you are also helping them to reinforce the lesson of the day. Second languages are all about repetition. The more they hear/see/use new words, the more imprinted they become on your child's brain (as well as yours), and the more comfortable they become with using words and phrases in the right context.

That being said, DON'T bombard your child with too many additional questions about French. Learning a second language can be a little scary and tiring for your child, especially during the first few months of being immersed in this brave new world at school. Let them relax and set their own pace when they return to the comfort of home and their home language.  Instead of quizzes, choose to make learning entertaining , enthusiastic and fun -  try to create funny accents, games, songs and jokes that will keep your kids laughing and still learning at the same time. After all, "la vie est belle" ("life is good")  - enjoy it together!  :)

P.S. Here are some fun french phrases whose literal translations can get those giggles going! ( Source: )

Feb 23, 2015 | Tamisha Edwards | Receptionist and Office Administrator, Emerson Academy