Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

French Immersion

You know I write extensively about the unique culture of Louisiana. I learn something new and interesting every day. Yesterday I attended The Great Acadiana Awakening, a traveling festival celebrating the native French language, culture, and heritage. Naturally, I heard music there -- music is a vital integral part of life in Louisiana -- including elementary kids from several local school singing songs in French. They are part of a special program in our parish called French Immersion. Local readers, bear with me. This may seem like no big deal to you. But to my non-Louisiana readers, this may be a fascinating concept. It certainly is to this Yankee. I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but 2-3 elementary schools, a couple middle schools, and no more than 1-2 high schools in Calcasieu Parish offer this voluntary opportunity. The purpose of this program is to help preserve the French heritage that is so unique to the state of Louisiana. For the students in French Immersion, ALL classes except reading and English are conducted 100% in French. Imagine that! Imagine learning French in science, math and social studies classes. These students are fluent in French by the fourth grade. Over 500 children in the parish participate in this program. Cool, huh!

Here's something I do not know, and maybe someone local can fill me in. Is this program unique to Calcasieu Parish, or is it statewide?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is throughout the state! They have a French speaking contest held once a year and a picnic at the end of the year that many schools attend. The students who stay in the immersion program can test at the end of 8th grade to earn up to two years of their high school foreign language requirements. Many immersion teachers are here only for 3 years (work visa)and come from all over. It's a wonderful program!