During the 2021-2022 school year, the School Advisory Council at Central Public School determined through consulting with the DSB1 FSL Committee Lead that providing additional support to families and removing barriers to out-of-classroom learning could help further support young learners in the French Immersion programming at Central Public School.
Through the support, involvement, and collaboration of the School Advisory Council, Central Home and School Association, staff and families, Central Public School was eager to host their Central Chalet French Literacy Night.
This dynamic evening event, hosted at Central Public School, featured outdoor play on the schoolyard snow hill, a café and a cozy chalet-style environment which allowed students and families to socialize, play, and learn together in French.
One of the components of the Central Chalet evening, facilitated by community partner Central Home and School Association volunteers, enabled families to participate in sledding and tobogganing using the Central Public School snow hill. Through a community partnership, the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Junior "A" ice hockey team was in attendance, volunteering their assistance on the hill. In partnering with The Early Years Centre, helmets were made available in child and adult sizes for optional use to ensure accessibility to a safe experience for all.
Inside the school, students and families visited the Central Chalet café. They used their oral French language skills to order provided refreshments and enjoy a traditional French-Canadian snack, Pets de Soeurs. Students and families read together in the designated fireside reading area by selecting from available French books.
As another component of the Central Chalet event, students and families played board games at designated board game tables to continue fostering French language use while developing growing confidence in communicating and interacting in French. At each board game table, a Grade 6 game facilitator aided younger students and English-speaking families with key vocabulary to use and how to play. The game facilitators were vital, reinforcing student leadership skills with the oldest learners and removing a participation barrier for English-speaking families.
The Central Chalet provided a valuable opportunity for students and families to feel connected to the school community and enhanced their sense of belonging. "Thank you for a very nice evening with our family and friends," one family expressed. Another family shared, "Merci beaucoup pour une plaisure soir." A family recently enrolled at Central Public School noted, "Good job to all the students who volunteered tonight! I was honestly beyond impressed with how hard everyone worked! Parents of volunteers should be extremely proud."
Following this successful and well-attended event, Central Public School is eager to continue supporting students and families in developing French literacy at home through the established Central Public School French Resource Lending Library.
For additional support for all learners and families in developing literacy skills through play and exposure to French at home, visit the DSB1 French as a Second Language webpage which offers engaging online supports, resources, and activities.