© Pexels/Max Fischer
Canadian Parents for French furthers bilingualism by promoting an creating opportunities for students to learn and use French
“Speaking English and French is really important for my children and their future. It’s one of the things that makes Canada great.” This quote from Denise Massie, a parent of two boys and the volunteer President of the Ontario Branch of Canadian Parents for French (CPF), captures the sentiment and priority that many parents have placed on official language bilingualism across the country.
From preschool through elementary, secondary and post-secondary, there is a spirit of collaborating and new energy for creating opportunities for becoming a French/English bilingual. CPF is the leading source of support for families who want their children to benefit from speaking French as their second official language. Research shows that those benefits are improved memory, abstract thinking, flexibility, creativity and cross-cultural awareness, in addition to having French as a much-in-demand skill in the job market in Canada.
Canada is working toward achieving its objective of increasing the bilingualism rate of the Canadian population to 20 per cent by 2036. Canadian Parents for French, a pan-Canadian Network, has been able to provide leadership and oversight to a volunteer network of 34,000 members as well as support nine branches and offices on the ground in every province and territory for over 40 years with the financial support of the Government of Canada, as well as membership fees and donations that speak to the commitment to this core Canadian value.
More and more children are learning French every day in school. Amid unprecedented enrollment growth in the French Immersion programs in Ontario and other provinces and territories, the federal government recently announced a new action plan and funding for improving the supply of French teachers across the country. The Government of Ontario continues to fund stakeholder organizations, including CPF Ontario, to promote the teaching profession to a target audience of young bilinguals and initiatives that will support and enrich professional development and motivate and retain existing French teachers. Funding is flowing to universities able to develop innovative pathways to graduate qualified French as a Second Language teachers, recognized by the Ontario College of Teachers.
CPF efforts include advocacy with the provincial/territorial governments responsible for setting education policy and the fundamental decisions around providing French as a Second Language programs (Core French and French Immersion) within their Education Acts, policies or guiding documents on program delivery. Provisions for second language instruction vary from province to province to territory. In Ontario, the delivery of the French Immersion program also varies from school board to school board, with most delivering far beyond the minimum standard set by the Ministry of Education.
CPF members and volunteers fulfill their mandate by promoting and creating opportunities for students to learn and use French in the classroom and through experiential opportunities among the Francophone community. In the words of Betty Gormley, Executive Director of CPF Ontario, “Every child should have the opportunity to benefit from this uniquely Canadian French/English experience. Sharing our rich linguistic and culturally diverse stories is fundamental to who we are as Canadians as we continue to build a globally competitive and inclusive country.”
Anyone eager to add their voice to the CPF collective can do so by visiting the CPF website at cpf.ca or reaching out to a branch office directly.
Canadian Parents for Frnech are a national network of parents, volunteers, and advocates dedicated to the promotion and creation of French-second-language learning opportunities for young Canadians.