Since it was established in 1995, the Conseil scolaire francophone (CSF), or School District 93, has been providing educational programs and services to the French-speaking communities of British Columbia.
There are a number of reasons that parents should consider a French education for their children, including the desire to share their cultural heritage and language. But choosing the right school for your child goes deeper than that.
Here are five things to keep in mind when deciding on whether to enroll your child in a CSF school.
1. Class size: British Columbia has a maximum limit on the number of students in each class, usually 30. CSF schools operate with much smaller class sizes due to the lower number of students enrolled in each school.
2. Education in both official languages: Because CSF follows the same curriculum as other B.C. public schools, your child's English language education will be as rigorous as in any other school in the province. Core subjects, sports, and the arts are taught in French, meaning your child will be completely bilingual in both of Canada's official languages come graduation time.
3. Cultural activities: CSF schools are multi-cultural as well as multi-lingual. Not all children have French as their first language. Many immigrants, for example, are eligible to place their children in a French language school if they themselves were educated in French or if other children in the family attended a Francophone school in another province.
CSF schools celebrate this cultural diversity, including First Nations' heritage, and offer a chance to learn and understand other cultural backgrounds while speaking French.
4. After school learning: Many CSF schools become a hub of the community, offering after school learning and socialization opportunities for both students and parents.
Michel Tardif, principal of l'école La Passerelle in Whistler and l'école La Vallée in Pemberton observes, "We provide an opportunity for parents and students to meet and socialize in French outside of the school setting by running activities to support the cultural and linguistic needs of the francophone community of Pemberton as well as Whistler.”
5. Transportation: CSF recognizes that due to their small number of schools, many children need a school transportation service to bring them to and from home. Bus service is available at most schools, offering another opportunity for kids to socialize and perfect their French.
If you think your child may qualify for a francophone education, visit their Admissions Page in English or in French for more information, or contact M. Tardif at 604.932.9602. CSF can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.