Gander Academy currently has an enrollment of 518 students and offers grades Kindergarten through Grade 3. Students are provided with an opportunity to study in the English or French Immersion Stream.
Gander Academy has al staff which includes classroom teachers, instructional resource teachers who support students with learning disabilities in the classroom. Our school also has specialist teachers in the areas of guidance & counselling, music, physical education, and learning resources/librarian, and administration (principal and vice-principal). The school has several student assistants, who also support students in class. In addition to staff based at the school, students can access District itinerant teachers in the areas of speech-language pathology, hearing impairment, visual impairment, behavioural support, and educational psychology. Secretarial, maintenance, and custodial support services are provided.
Gander Academy offers a broad and balanced curriculum to all its students. When registering for school at the kindergarten level, students are offered the choice of English or French Immersion.
Irrespective of the option they choose, all students study the prescribed provincial curriculum. The majority of the instructional day is spent studying language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. However, all students are exposed to a very strong music, art, physical education and French program.
The Kindergarten Program at Gander Academy, as described in the provincial document Early Beginnings: A Kindergarten Curriculum Guide, is designed to support the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and moral development of the four- and five-year-old child.
Inherent in the Kindergarten Program is the recognition that children are individuals, every child is unique and the diverse needs and developmental levels of children can be accommodated through developmentally appropriate practices. The Kindergarten Program provides for integrated and discrete learning in: language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, health, physical education, religious education, and core French.
The curriculum in Grades 1, 2, and 3, as prescribed by the provincial government is designed to develop fundamental knowledge, skills, and values. The curriculum is a differentiated one with prescribed content and core objectives in: English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, core French, music, art, physical education, health and religious education.
The focus at Gander Academy as in all primary level schools in Newfoundland and Labrador is on the growth and development of the learner (intellectually, socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically). The overall method of instruction is activity-inquiry, a hands-on, minds-on approach to learning that helps children meet each learning situation in such a way that it will have meaning for them. Making connections and developing abilities across subject areas is one way of enhancing children's understanding of concepts, values, and skills. However, there is an expectation that student achievement at the primary level will result from a combination of discrete and connected teaching/ learning experiences.
The primary school is a learning environment sensitive to each child's needs and developmental level. It recognizes that each child is a worthwhile individual with potential for growth and development. In the primary school, parents and educators are partners in the child's education.
Bienvenue en maternelle! Welcome to French Immersion!
Kindergarten is one of the most important years of your child's school life. It is a year that will focus on your child's social development and a year that will shape your child's academic foundations as he/she begins to learn a new language. You will also play a vital role in the Kindergarten year as you work with your child's teacher to create a happy and safe learning environment for your child!
Children who come to Kindergarten French Immersion in September will have the same curriculum outcomes as their fellow students in English Kindergarten, and will be involved in the same curricular areas: Language Arts (French), Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Art, Health, Music, Physical Education, and Religious Education. In Kindergarten, work is often organized into thematic units that comprise many or all of the above areas. The main purpose of this integration is to help children see relationships among concepts and to organize their own experiences so that they are meaningful and educationally rewarding.
Evaluation takes place on a daily basis in the classroom and includes such areas as listening/speaking, reading/viewing, writing/viewing, writing/demonstrating. For the child who is learning French and is learning to interact successfully in a French environment, listening and demonstrating are of utmost importance. Over the first two to three months, most children learn to listen to the new language and to demonstrate their understanding of what is being said or shown. During this time, they also begin to build a vocabulary in the new language which they will begin to use as their comfort level increases. The teacher uses a variety of methods to ensure that the children are adjusting well while learning their second language, from creating a warm classroom environment and using hand signals and gestures when talking, to providing materials in French that the children may be familiar with in their first language.
At the end of the Kindergarten year, children should be able to understand most of what the teacher says, follow simple directions, and recognize beginning sounds and some words in French. They begin to use French words in English sentences and are capable of speaking simple sentences in their second language.
What is Immersion?
French immersion students follow the same curriculum as their peers in an English program; however some subjects are taught in French. It is based on the idea that students learn more French when they are required to use it to complete authentic tasks (i.e. Mathematics and Science). Over 30 years of research in Canada has produced overwhelming evidence that French immersion is a successful program.
What does EFI look like?
Students begin Kindergarten with approximately 90% of subject instruction in French. This percentage decreases after Grade 2, as English Language Arts is introduced in Grade 3. In general, the following table illustrates which subject areas may be taught in French in the EFI program.
How is EFI different from other French programs?
The EFI program differs from the Late French Immersion program as it begins in kindergarten and it differs from the Core French and Intensive Core French programs as content (other subject areas) is taught in French. The following are descriptions of the other French programs offered at the Eastern School District:
- Late French Immersion (LFI) - Students begin in Grade 7 with approximately 75% of subject instruction in French. The percentage of French instruction decreases in each grade, as more English is introduced. By Grade 9, EFI and LFI students study approximately the same percentage of French.
- Core French (CF) - Students spend approximately 10% of the time studying French as a subject within the curriculum from Grades 4 to 9.
- Intensive Core French (ICF) - ICF is an alternate method of organizing the Grade 6 curriculum so that students receive an increased amount of instruction in French for half of the school year.
What are the benefits of second language learning?
- Provides a focus on literacy skills
- Facilitates learning of additional languages
- Develops cultural appreciation and diversity
- Enriches personal development opportunities
- Increases employment opportunities
What if we don't speak French at home?
- The EFI program was designed for non-French speaking families. Regardless of the language spoken at home there are a variety of strategies parents can use to support their children. Here are some suggestions that may be helpful:
- Listen to your child read in French
- Discuss content and illustrations of French resources in English
- View French media together
- Continue to support and show interest in your child's program
- Create an atmosphere conducive to study
- Participate in French cultural events where possible
- Initiate open communication with your child's teacher
- Provide a French-English dictionary for use at home
- Continue to read with your child in English
Frequently Asked Questions
How will EFI affect achievement in English Language Arts?
Achievement in English Language Arts will not be negatively impacted by being enrolled in a French immersion program. Once students are introduced to English Language Arts in Grade 3, English skills develop quickly. Children have already developed literacy skills in French, which are transferred to their first language.
Will the course content be similar to that of the English program?
The outcomes and content are the same as the English program, as outlined by the Department of Education of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Will there be extra homework?
Homework will follow the regular pattern for subject areas taught in an English program. Homework will support learning and consist of work students may complete independently.
Will my child be expected to speak French from the first day?
Children often express themselves in English while in kindergarten; only the teacher speaks consistently in French. After a period of continual input in French, students begin to use French as they become comfortable with the language.
Will my child progress at the same rate as students in the English program?
In the beginning there may be differences in rate of skill development in all language areas, including reading and writing, because of the necessary time spent developing second language vocabulary. This gap will narrow as children continue to learn.