Students at Cambridge Public School near Embrun recently experienced a fun-filled day of French activities – all while expanding their French language skills.
Called French-Canadian Day, students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 explored various French activities on March 10. Activities took place both inside and outside of the school and included taffy on snow, a snowshoe/hike to a local sugar bush for a French demonstration on how to make maple syrup, visual arts activities centred around the “la ceinture fléchée”, a “kitchen party” where students learned traditional songs and jigs, and curling and its French heritage. To wrap up the day’s entertainment, students were treated to a live virtual concert with a traditional chansonnier.
“I was able to practice my French-speaking skills and learn new words,” said Grade 6 student Ruthanne Young. “I liked how we got to learn how they made taffy, how sap comes from trees, and how it is boiled down to make maple syrup.”
Hands-on learning, like the day’s events, fits into the French as a Second Language (FSL) curriculum, which helps students better understand the French culture, build their knowledge, and language skills. These activities were part of an external funding proposal to help support cultural activities and parent/community engagement, which aligns with Ontario’s FSL calls to action framework. The framework is geared towards improving students’ French abilities.
“We really wanted to do something that would celebrate our roots,” said Dominique Bertrand, Principal of Cambridge Public School. “We are in Eastern Ontario and wanted to highlight some of the unique French cultural activities from this area.”
“We have been practicing gratitude at Cambridge this year, and part of that has been to celebrate our uniqueness and appreciate our differences,” added Vice-Principal, Gina Landriault. “We have a large French community in our area and are excited to celebrate as a whole school initiative and learn about what makes French-Canadians unique.”
This outdoor French culture and language experience was a hit among students of all grades. “I had fun and I loved the maple syrup,” said Kindergartener Zachary Charbonneau.
Situated just outside of Embrun, Cambridge PS is a dual-stream school that offers both French Immersion and English programs to students in Kindergarten to Grade 6.