An early start to studying Canada’s second official language is one of the cornerstones of a Rowntree education. While Ministry of Education requirements do not expect Core French to be started until Grade 4, we feel that a head start serves our children well, and fosters an enjoyment of the French language and the cultural richness that is associated with the songs, dances, and sounds of French in Canada.
Several years ago, our Kindergarten students sang O Canada in French as an opening song for the Downtown Campus Christmas Concert. This was the first time students sang in French in front of an audience. All of our Kindergarten students are taught to sing the national anthem at the beginning of every French class, so the students were given an opportunity to show off some of their skills in French! Since then, it has become a tradition for the Prep-ONE (Senior Kindergarten) class to sing in French at each of our concerts.
Most of our parents do not speak French, so when their children perform in French at the concerts, they really feel very proud of them. There have been many positive comments about the students; they do such a good job, and are clearly pleased to share what they have been learning. Two years ago, one student delivered a perfect speech in French for the Spring Concert. Afterward, parents commented on her success. The following year, another student presented another speech in French. He was new to RMS and had never learned French before; his mother was reluctant and thought that he might not be able to present a speech in French. However, with much practice and support, he was able to deliver his speech perfectly, and his mother was simply amazed that he delivered his speech with so much confidence! Many parents made positive comments about how well the speech was done and how well all the students were singing the French song.
All parents look forward to seeing their children performing in French at the concerts in Prep-ONE (Senior Kindergarten). The parents of Kindergarten Montessori students often ask if their children will also be singing a French song when they get to Prep One. They are very happy to hear that their children will have the opportunity to sing a French song or give a French speech on the stage. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us at our next Christmas concert!