Keeping French speaking alive in Acadiana - KLFY News 10

Keeping French speaking alive in Acadiana

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It wasn't long ago that students were punished for speaking French in school. But now, the Acadiana educational system is encouraging students to learn the French language.

French immersion has been in New Iberia for 11 years.

It gives students like these at North Lewis Elementary, a chance to learn a second language, the same way they learned their first.

"And starting at an early age is the most effective way. By starting in Kindergarten, the students are exposed to the French target language on a daily basis." said Ingrid Brause.

And at this age, learning French is like playing a game. Ingrid Brause let's her student of the week lead the morning routine.

"They're basically the little teacher in front of the class room. So it's really a way for them to interact in French among each other." said Brause.

And since its part of the public school system, there is no cost for French immersion education.

But openings are limited. Right now there are 50 kindergarten slots available. It's first come first serve. And being bilingual can greatly improve the learning process.

"Develop your brain where you're using both polls of the brain and it actually helps you in the learning of different subjects." said Brause.

Certified French speaking teachers come to Acadiana from all over the world. Many like Cynthia Benoit, are from Canada.

"Coming myself from an Acadian background, its real good keeping the connection with the cultural heritage. French Cajuns. It's really clear to me and I'm glad to be a part of that and helping them connect with another generation and keeping that French alive in Louisiana." said Benoit.

So whether they say bonjour or merci their French language will stay with them as they grow up in the French culture of Acadiana.

All kindergarten students living in Iberia Parish are eligible to enroll in the French immersion education. There's an informational meeting this Wednesday from 6 till 7 at the North Lewis Elementary cafeteria, and sign up day is Monday the 26th. Call principal Tim Rosamond at 369-6132 if you have any questions.

Michael Dupre

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