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    Default St. John Catholic French Immersion

    My daughter will be starting in grade 1 at St. John Catholic French Immersion in September. She did JK and SK in English, but we are switching her to French Immersion. Has anyone done the same - if so, how did your child do in grade one? I am worried that she will feel lost and overwhelmed, because most of the other children in the class will have done French Immersion in JK and SK.

    Do any of you have experience with St. John - is it welcoming? Is it considered a good school? Are parents quite involved in the school? Are the grade one teachers nice? Any concerns about the school? I heard they have a dress code - is that like a uniform?

    Sorry for all of the questions ... I am a bit nervous about this change, but I am excited for her to learn French.

    Thanks!!

    JCA's Mom

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    Hi! My oldest was in an English Public school for JK and SK and for various reasons we also decided to switch her to St John's FI this past year when she was in gr. 1. We found St. John's very welcoming. There is a nice vibe about the school from the staff and students. She was a bit nervous about learning French in the first couple of weeks, but at the meet the parent night her teacher was very supportive and encouraging and told us that she was picking it up quickly. By about Christmas time she was pretty much caught up with her peers who had been in FI since JK. We also added in French reading materials at home and flash cards at the beginning, although we don't really use those anymore.

    I went to parent council meetings this past year to be more involved with school events and basically just know what's happening at the school. There are some pretty nice things that are planned. There's a Christmas event called Road to Bethlehem that's a family night, a movie night, a carnival, and then there are school masses that parents are encouraged to attend as well. I don't really know what the dress code is about, there is no uniform. She has worn sundresses to school with no issues and I haven't really heard of hard and fast dress code "rules" but in the younger grades I'm not sure how often they have to enforce anything.

    I'm not sure if you're aware, but they are building a new school for St. John's b/c they are over populated at the current site. So this year the school board just purchased the land in the new year and the blueprints for the building were unvealed at the carnival in the spring. The location will be on Coronation Dr. near Hyde Park. I'm not sure if there will be a boundary review and so far they're telling parents that there will be no changes but who knows. Depending on where you live it may be further. For us it will change her 10 min bus ride to about 45-60 mins.

    Overall though we've really enjoyed the switch. She had Mme Habib for gr. 1 and she was a great teacher. A bit older and maybe a little more strict, but she definitely keeps the kids on track with everything and they get through their lessons really well. I volunteered at a few things this year and the kids in her class all seemed really attentive to her. My daughter enjoyed being in her class too.

    Hailey - April 2008
    Scarlett - April 2012
    Troy - July 2014
    *Currently enrolled in the Perinatal Support Practitioner program through Babies Naturally and looking to attend births as a student doula. Please message me for details!*

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    Thanks, SpringChicks, your comments were very helpful! I appreciate the detail, as it made me feel more relaxed about our decision to switch our daughter to FI. I was glad to hear that, in your daughter's experience, the grade one entries can catch up relatively quickly to the children who entered FI in JK and SK.

    I did know about the new school, which will be about the same distance away from where we live as the current one. I am glad that they will get a new school - the current one did seem overcapacity when I looked at it.

    Would you recommend that I do something this summer to introduce my daughter to French before the first day of grade one? I am not sure what I would do, but maybe I could make flashcards of words she is likely to encounter every day ...

    JCA's Mom

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    You could do some basic French flashcards. I think we got our's at Mastermind or Scholar's Choice, but I've seen them lots of places now. We also got some intro level French books at the public library and started introducing more vocabulary that way. But for the most part it wasn't something we focused a ton on before she started FI.

    Hailey - April 2008
    Scarlett - April 2012
    Troy - July 2014
    *Currently enrolled in the Perinatal Support Practitioner program through Babies Naturally and looking to attend births as a student doula. Please message me for details!*

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