September 30, 2016 - 8:00 AM
FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government is reinstating French immersion in Grade 1, starting in September 2017.
The change was a Liberal campaign promise in 2014.
"We are delivering on our promise and supporting those who want their children to have the opportunity to learn French at an earlier age," Premier Brian Gallant said Friday as he made the announcement at an elementary school in Fredericton.
The former Liberal government of Shawn Graham changed the entry point for French immersion to Grade 3 in 2008.
Gallant said studies show that the best time to teach children a second language is at an early age.
"The government committed to make improvements to the previous Grade 1 immersion program including initiatives to address classroom composition issues and to provide more access to immersion in rural areas," he said.
"A curriculum based upon the best practices for younger learners in second-language instruction is being prepared and teachers will be hired to provide early immersion."
New Brunswick is Canada's only officially bilingual province.
Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny says as a bilingual province, New Brunswick must offer strong opportunities to learn a second language.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016