By Vivian Collings
Canadian Parents for French (CPF) are inviting families to a morning of French stories at the Haliburton County Public Library Haliburton branch on Saturday, Feb. 11 to introduce the language to pre-school age children.
The storytime is meant to allow parents to see their child’s reception to learning a second language before enrolling them in school.
“Having a fun setting like this can give parents that insight as to whether their child is receptive or intimidated by French,” said French immersion teacher and CPF member Stephanie Ward. “It also gives the child context so that if they are starting French in Grade 1, instead of being a foreign language, it’s that one they had fun learning at the library.”
The collaboration between the library and CPF has allowed for the purchase of French storytime books for the library.
Starting at 10:30 a.m., Sharon Wilson, a French Immersion teacher, leads the storytime by singing songs and games geared towards newborns to age six, and it will be the last in a series of four storytimes.
“Sharon was thinking about the goal of CPF being to increase bilingualism in Canada, and recognized that our Early Years population was being under served. She came up with the idea to have a French Storytime program geared towards children and parents in a fun setting before they had to make the decision to choose French Immersion or English stream,” Ward said.
This allows for parents to make an informed decision about whether to to enroll their child in French immersion or not by the time they reached kindergarten age.
CPF is a national organization with a goal to increase bilingualism in Canada.
“They do this by supporting French immersion programs, core French programs, and extended French programs. They do homework help, virtual, and in-person activities and programs. They support French summer camps, they help organize and run French adult classes, so it’s not specific to children,” Ward said.
The local CPF chapter is the most active in Ontario, and they set a goal to host an event each month. So far, they have attended open houses and held public skating, games nights, and a movie night.
Ward also said members of CPF Ontario will be present to help celebrate the final storytime, and refreshments will be served.
“The reason they are going to be in town is to do a site visit because they are looking at Haliburton as the location for their annual meeting next October. Often it’s held at larger areas around Ontario, so we are excited to host them here,” She said.
The French storytime at the library is a free event. Their other events are free for CPF members, and they ask for a $5 donation for non-members. For more information, visit cpf.ca/en/.
“If you have a child learning French and are looking for support, this is a great place to turn,” Ward said.