Winter “Carnaval” at École Braemar Elementary School

École Braemar hosted its very own French-style Winter “Carnaval” on Friday, February 13, 2015. 

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Painting by Grade 6 Late French Immersion students

The entire school came together to learn about French Canadian culture, the rich history of the Québec Winter “Carnaval” and participate in all the merriment of Carnaval including theme songs, bingo, crafts, and live ice carving presentations made possible by a grant from Canadian Parents for French (CPF) for which we are most grateful.

This event was a huge success. Children enjoyed learning theme songs like Chansons du Carnaval, Salut Bonhomme, and En Carriole. They could be heard singing and humming these songs out in the playground as they played.

Much preparation was done for the Carnaval-themed Picture Bingo event. Both English and French students learned a list of 27 new French vocabulary words that were going to be used for Friday’s bingo. As well as, students in our grade 4 French Immersion class auditioned for parts. In the morning we had a French & English Bingo over the PA system to easily include all classes. Winners received either a little Bonhomme Carnaval or a Maple candy treat!

Grade 5 French Immersion students came to each classroom to share a small speech on winter Carnaval and give instructions on the craft. Intermediate students got to make a really cool “arrowhead sash” bracelet that looked like the traditional ceinture flêchée while primaries made a mask of Bonhomme Carnaval. The Kinders loved running around pretending they were the Bonhomme Carnaval.

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Painting by Grade 6 Late French Immersion students

Although it was a warm sunny day, we were still enjoying the winter spirit with the beautiful art displays put throughout the school by the Grade 6 Late French Immersion class. Cool Creations brought some bricks of ice to cool us off. Ice carver Jin Shimoto demonstrated his talent by carving us an ice castle and bonhomme. He very gracefully did it in steps so that all students could enjoy his art.

The Carnaval was a huge success with positive feedback, from children, teachers, support staff, and parents. All the students enjoyed learning about the French/Canadian culture and participating in Carnaval, however, the ice carving demonstration was undoubtedly the most impressive activity of the day.

Braemar celebrates Carnaval in some way every year, but this was the first large-scale event in a while. Our hope is that the activities and material that we have created can be shared through the CPF where we could create a sort of forum of Carnaval information and resources. That way, another school can use our activities next year without having to re-create each time.  Again, thank you to CPF for helping us fund this event. We look forward to another exciting Carnaval at École Braemar Elementary School.

— Gwendolyn Muir, Braemar CPF co-rep

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