Two Types of French Education
The two types of education serve different purposes and parents' choice depends on their options, priorities, goals and Charter rights1.
1. French first language
As its name implies, French first language education is tailor-made for children with francophone roots from at least one parent. The francophone school is a facility designed for living, learning, and integrating the French language, culture and community. In other words, it exists not only to address students' academic needs but to help them explore and develop their francophone heritage. It also provides a unique setting for children with francophone roots to gain additive, balanced bilingualism.
French first language education is intended for children who are eligible under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of rights and Freedoms 1 Francophone schooling takes place entirely in French from kindergarten to the end of high school; French language and francophone culture in the classroom are a natural extension of children's family and community life. Students also learn English starting in Grade 4.
Upon graduation, they can expect to be highly proficient in French and identify with and be part of the francophone culture and community. They'll also be highly proficient in English, and be able to pursue postsecondary studies and work in either official language.
2. French immersion
French immersion is designed for children whose family heritage is other than French. The goal is to learn French as a second language. French is the language of instruction for a significant portion of each school day, although the amount varies from one program to another. Immersion begins with a focus on language development so that students can learn to speak and read French well enough to study other subjects in that language. They also study the English-language curriculum and other courses in English.
When they complete an immersion program, students may be functionally fluent in French (able to live, work, and pursue postsecondary studies in French). In addition, they'll have gained an understanding and appreciation of francophone culture.