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French Immersion

Pathways to French

Hamilton Wentworth District School Boards (HWDSB) French as a Second Language Programming is guided by the three core priorities set out in A Framework for French as a Second Language in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 1-12:

  • Increase student confidence, proficiency and achievement in French as a Second Language (FSL)
  • Increase the percentage of students studying FSL until graduation
  • Increase student, educator, parent, and community engagement in FSL

These core priorities are at the forefront of HWDSBs commitment to FSLthat envisions:

All students communicating and interacting with growing confidence in French.

HWDSB offers two FSL programs Core French and French Immersion. Each of the programs differs in intensity but share a common purpose: To develop students communication skills in the French language.

The programs teach students to listen, speak, read, and write in French through real-world language opportunities. French as a Second Language also promotes the use of language learning strategies, goal setting/reflection and an appreciation of French culture in Canada and in other regions of the world.

French Immersion Virtual Information Session

Thank you for choosing HWDSB to help your child get off to the best possible start at school. We know that each student is unique in his or her learning, and we work to ensure that our programs help all students reach their full potential. French Immersion is one such program.

Please consider joining our French Immersion Virtual Information Night if you are considering this program for your child, born in 2015. The Information Night is from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

Details on how to join the meeting will be posted in the near future and shared through school websites.


French Immersion Registration

Registration for the 2020-2021 School Year is now closed

Applications for Grade 1 entry into French Immersion will only be accepted through the online application form. This application will be available to current Senior Kindergarten students (born in 2015) on:

Monday, November 30, 2020

You will require your child’s Ontario Education Number (OEN) to register, which can be found on their last report card.

A Grade 1 system-wide application process for entry to French Immersion allows for program placement of students, monitoring of accommodations, balance of enrolment, and long-term stability of the French Immersion program.

The application process for the 2021/2022 school year will begin based on the following important dates:

Monday, November 30, 2020 Application process opens for Senior Kindergarten Students only
Sunday, January 24, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Deadline for Applications
Friday, February 26, 2021 Program location offered to parents/guardians
Friday, March 12, 2021 Deadline for program acceptance and registration
By Friday, May 7, 2021 Process Applications received from April 1 – May 2
By Friday, June 4, 2021 Process Applications received from May 3 – May 31
By Friday, July 2, 2021 Process Applications received from June 1 – July 1
Monday, August 23, 2021 Process Applications received from July 2 – August 22
Week of August 30, 2021 Schools contact parents for registration and orientation.
Week of September 13, 2021 Process Applications received from August 23 – September 12

We guarantee an offer of placement in the program (not a specific school).

Criteria for French Immersion Placement

  • Availability of the program closest to the students home address, based on their French Immersion boundary.
  • Grade 1 siblings entering French Immersion may attend the same school as their older sibling currently in French Immersion, space permitting.
  • Balance of English and French Immersion enrolment in dual track schools (50-60 per cent in English or French).
  • Year over year impact as students progress through Grades 1-8.

The following French Immersion schools are at, or close to capacity:

  • A.M. Cunningham
  • Earl Kitchener
  • Eastdale
  • Guy Brown
  • Lawfield
  • Mary Hopkins
  • Norwood Park

The following French Immersion schools have room to accomodate applicants:

  • Bennetto
  • Cootes Paradise
  • Dundana
  • Frank Panabaker
  • Michaelle Jean
  • Parkdale

French Immersion Schools for the 2020-21 School Year

Visit our find a school page to find what French Immersion school your child would attend.

Sherwood Secondary School Cluster Westdale Secondary School Cluster
A.M. Cunningham(Gr. 1-5) Bennetto* (Gr. 1-5)
Eastdale (Gr. 1-8) Cootes Paradise (Gr. 1-5)
cole lmentaire Michalle Jean(Gr. 1-8) Dalewood(Gr. 6-8)
Frank Panabaker (Gr. 1-8) Dundana(Gr. 1-5)
Lawfield (Gr. 1-8) Earl Kitchener(Gr. 1-5)
Norwood Park (Gr. 1-8) Guy B. Brown(Gr. 1-8)
Parkdale (Gr. 1-5) Mary Hopkins(Gr. 1-4)
W.H. Ballard (Gr. 6-8) Ryerson(Gr. 6-8)
Sir William Osler(Gr. 6-8)



*Bennetto Elementary School is not experiencing accommodation pressures. Therefore, Grade 1 students living within the French Immersion catchment will be automatically accepted into the program at this school.

French Immersion Information

Grade 1 French Immersion Orientation Video

About the French Immersion Program

  • a proven way of acquiring excellent language skills in French

  • specifically designed for parents who do not speak French, but wish their children to speak both official languages
  • begins in Grade 1 and all students in the city of Hamilton are eligible
Early French Immersion booklet

French Immersion Booklet

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I find out how to register my child for Grade 1 French Immersion?

In October, we are holding information nights at select elementary schools. At these meetings, we explain the online registration process and answer questions about our French as a Second Language programs. We also advertise in the local newspapers and send home a flyer with all senior kindergarten students at our schools.

Why does HWDSB have an application system?

The purpose of a system application process is to ensure that all students who wish to take French Immersion programming are able to do so. In addition, this allows HWDSB to plan accommodation and staffing needs.

A Grade 1 system-wide application process for entry to French Immersion allows for program placement of students, monitoring of accommodations, balance of enrolment, and long-term stability of the French Immersion program.

When a student is accessing French Immersion, placement is determined by the availability of openings within schools providing the Program.

The guarantee is placement within the French Immersion program not necessarily the neighbourhood school

Does HWDSB limit the number of students who can register for Grade 1 French Immersion?

Our process is designed to accommodate all students who apply.

How do I register my child for Grade 1 French Immersion?

Registration opens December 2, 2019 and closes on January 20, 2020, so that we can establish Grade 1 French Immersion classes for the next school year based on the home address used on the application. Families will be notified on February 28, 2020 of acceptance into the program and the location their child will attend. Families have until March 13, 2020, to accept their placement.

What happens if I miss the application deadline?

Applications received after the deadline are reviewed as they come in. Placement is determined by the availability of openings within schools providing the Program.

The guarantee is placement within the French Immersion program not necessarily the neighbourhood school

My neighbourhood school has French Immersion. When I register, will my child have priority to attend that school?

Students who live within the boundary of the neighbourhood school, and/or who have an older sibling attending a French Immersion school, are considered in-catchment students. Although every effort is made to place students in the program at their in-catchment school, living in-catchment, does not provide priority to that school.Grade 1 siblings entering French Immersion may attend the same school as their older sibling currently in French Immersion, space permitting and providing they remain in French Immersion, applicants with siblings who will attend FI at the school in 2020-21 will be offered a placement prior to any random selection process. Placement within a school is determined by the availability of openings within the school and the receipt of the on-time online application.

The guarantee is placement within the French Immersion program not necessarily the neighbourhood school

The program at my home school is full. What happens now?

In cases where there are no available openings at the in-catchment school, an offer will be made to a program at the next closest school that has available space.

The guarantee is placement within the French Immersion program not necessarily the neighbourhood school

If my child arrives at HWDSB later than October, may he/she enroll in grade one French Immersion?

Students in Grade 1-8 moving to HWDSB from another board may be offered a French Immersion program location for grades other than the Grade 1 entry after a review of student records or confirmation of an equivalent background in French, as determined by program staff from French as a Second Language. The staff application review committee will also review late admissions to determine student placement. Students who are deemed ready will be offered a placement in their French Immersion catchment school if space permits. If there is no space in the French Immersion catchment school, the placement will be offered in another school with French Immersion programming, and no transportation will be provided.


Will HWDSBoffer transportation to students enrolled in the Immersion program?

Transportation to a French Immersion program offered at your childs in-catchment school is offered according to HWDSBs Transportation Policy.

Transportation to a French Immersion program offered at an out-of-catchment school, for example, a school that is not your childs neighbourhood school, is the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

Entering French Immersion After Grade 1

If my child does not begin the Grade 1 French Immersion program, could I provide tutoring for him/her so that he/she may enroll in Grade 2?

No. Parents must decide to start their child on the French Immersion pathway in Senior Kindergarten, for Grade 1. Tutoring will not provide your child with the required number of hours in French language instruction to ensure that they are at the same level as their peers by Grade 2.

Contact Information

For more information about French as a Second Language programming, please speak to your school.

If you have questions about the registration process, please email fi@hwdsb.on.ca.

Support for your child

Canadian Parents for French

Parent Guide to Supporting Your Childs Success in French Immersion and Extended French





For more information about French Immersion, please review the following materials:

You can also connect with Hamilton’s Francophone community to learn about events and activities.

There has been a significant shift in Core French programs across Ontario. Core French Programs no longer rely on memorization of learning skills through drills of endless lists of verbs and vocabulary. Rather, Core French programs allow students to communicate and interact in authentic real-life scenarios.

At HWDSB, learning activities focus as much on listening and speaking as on reading and writing. Opportunities for student conversations are maximized to develop communication and interaction skills and growing confidence in French.

Elementary Core French Programming

At the elementary level, Core French is mandatory for all students in English-language elementary schools. Students receive up to 200 minutes of French instruction per week and must have accumulated a minimum of 600 hours of French instruction by the end of Grade 8.Often the French as a Second Language teacher is a specialist who teaches multiple grades.

The goal of this program is to develop basic communication skills in French. Therefore, opportunities for oral interaction and spontaneous discussion are offered. The program also develops students appreciation of French culture in Canada and in other parts of the world.

All students are taught using the expectations of the French as a Second Language Ontario Curriculum. Teachers use their professional judgement to select materials and promote discussions that support student engagement, ability and confidence.

Guiding Documents

French as a Second Language Grades 1 to 8 Curriculum

French as a Second Language Grades 1 to 8 Curriculum

French as a Second Language Grades 1 to 8 Curriculum

Including Students with Special Education Needs in French as a Second Language Programs

Growing Success - Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools

Growing Success – Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

What can my child expect to learn in Core French?

A child in the Core French program can expect to develop the communication skills needed to understand and interact with others, to express themselves and to communicate simple ideas at a basic level.


Studies show that students perform better in school if their parents/guardians are involved in their education. Parents/guardians can be involved in the Core French program in a variety of ways:

  • Get to know your childs teacher, and participate in parent-teacher interviews.
  • Encourage your child to learn French. Turn the tables let your child teach you French! This will build his or her confidence and self-esteem.
  • Offer your child the opportunity to hear and speak French in authentic situations outside of the classroom, such as
    • watching French television,
    • listening to French radio,
    • reading French books
    • viewing the ISE website
    • participating in franco-cultural events offered by local francophone organizations
      • Centre Francais Hamilton offers monthly family events which include concerts, shows and summer festivals.

What do I do if my child encounters difficulties in Core French?

If you are concerned that your child is experiencing difficulties, you should contact the Core French teacher together you can discuss what can be done to help your childs learning. Most children encounter challenges from time to time, but if your child is worried or frustrated, it could be a sign of an underlying problem that should be resolved as soon as possible. Children progress at different rates and learn in different ways, so teachers plan instruction and assessment considering students interests, learning styles, and previously acquired knowledge and skills.

Helpful Resources

DELFThe Diplome dEtude de Langue Francaise (DELF) is a diploma issued by the French Ministry of National Education in recognition of French-language studies. The CIEP (Centre international dtudes pdagogiques) is the public organization appointed by Frances Ministry of National Education to oversee the teaching and administrative aspects of the examination. These diplomas show a students proficiency in French and are recognized around the world.

In the spring of each year, HWDSB offers all Grade 12 Core and Immersion students the opportunity to challenge the DELF and demonstrate their French-language skills at three levels: A2, B1, B2. Each diploma corresponds to one of the four lower levels of theCommon European Framework of Reference for Languages. At each level, a series of examinations evaluate the four communication skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Your child, with the support of their teacher, will self-select which diploma to try for.

Students who successfully challenge the DELF will have:

  • life-long certification
  • recognition of their proficiency in French
  • a document for their resume or portfolio
  • a description of what they can do in oral communication, listening, reading and writing in French
  • a certified language assessment for acceptance into a French University
  • travel, job and educational opportunities

More information about DELF:

Students need to connect with their French teacher for more information.

French as a Second Language (FASL) Advisory Committee is advisory in nature with a focus on French programming in elementary and secondary as well as Ministry and community supports that enhance the learning experience for our students.

Please complete this form to indicate your interest in becoming a member of the Advisory Committee:

Oops! We could not locate your form.

FASL meeting dates.

Transportation for French Immersion is offered to students whose in catchment school exceeds the walking distances of:

Elementary School Grades 1-8 1.6 km



The method of transportation for elementary French Immersion is:

Grade 1 to 6 Black and Yellow Buses with community stops.
A community stop is a centrally-located stop, similar to a transit style stop, for students and may not be within walking distance of a students home.Community stops may change year to year based on the home addresses of students.

Grade 7 and 8 HSR (unless there is an existing route that accommodates these students)

Where HSR is not available, alternative transportation will be provided.

Resource Link







Voila Learning

Voila Learning

This tool will allow students to access live support in French from an online teacher. Core French students can access live teacher support to support proficiency skills by interacting in spontaneous conversation in French. French Immersion students can also access direct online teacher support in Language and Math. Connect with your teacher for the school access code. Yes Yes Yes Yes
FSL HomeworkToolbox

FSL Homework Toolbox

Parents who have children in a French Immersion program and wish to assist them with homework in French. It is also a resource for FI students who require an accessible user-friendly reference tool to help with homework. Click on Toolbox to practise listening to everyday French expressions. Yes Yes Yes Yes
Canadian Parents for French

Canadian Parents for French

This site is designed to help further bilingualism by promoting and creating opportunities for students to learn and use French. Click on Resources for Parents andStudents. Yes Yes Yes Yes
Literacy Center

Literacy Centre

This website targets a variety of skills in French including listening to sounds, connecting sounds to print, and developing early vocabulary. Yes Yes Yes Yes


This website assists French Immersion students in learning how to read in French using free illustrated books. The site aims to help students read to develop their imagination and to progress in their reading skills. No No Yes No
Reading A to Z (French)

Reading A-Z

This website features texts to support the growth of native and non-native French speakers’ reading and language skills. No No Yes No
Lecture Enfant

Lecture Enfant

This website offers parents and educators 18 levels of French books and videos. Sign up for the newsletter and receive 20 free downloadable books.Click on Free Resources. Yes No Yes No

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