“Carnaval” at École Braemar Elementary School

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Last year, École Braemar hosted its very own “French-style Winter Carnaval.” It was the first large-scale French event on the North Shore to include both French Immersion and English students. For its second year running, the entire school came together to celebrate bilingualism, learn about French Canadian culture, and the rich history of the Québec Winter “Carnaval.”

Québec’s winter carnival is one of the largest winter carnivals in the world. Lasting 2 weeks long, you can participate in parades, fireworks, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hockey, and watch ice carving, dog sled races, and canoe races on the ice of the semi-frozen Saint Laurence River. Students at Braemar participated in all the merriment of “Carnaval” including theme songs, bingo, crafts, and making “le tire” maple candy on the snow provided by Patrick Demers from the Maples’ Sugar Shack made possible by the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC), for which we are most grateful.

Although it was overcast and raining, we still enjoyed the winter spirit by wearing toques, scarves, and with each student having the opportunity to make maple syrup candy on the snow. Children enjoyed learning theme songs like Chansons du Carnaval, Salut Bonhomme, Au temps du Carnaval, Bonnes Gens, Chantez Dansez. They could be heard singing down the halls and humming these songs out in the playground as they played.

Much preparation was done for the “Carnaval.” In the week prior, parents prepped craft materials, children learned new French vocabulary, carnaval music, and students in our grade 5 French Immersion class practiced speeches to deliver to each class the morning of Carnaval. Anika N and Olivia D welcomed students to the “Carnaval” festivities and presented a French/English Bingo over the PA system to easily include all classes. The first two winners received a maple candy treat and each student won a Braemar School pin designed by our local Canadian Parents for French (CPF) chapter, for which we are most grateful.

Grade 5 French Immersion students visited each classroom to share a small presentation on the “voyageur.” Voyageur is a French word for traveller. Most voyageurs were French-Canadian men who paddled canoes and delivered furs and trade goods for the fur trading companies. The “voyageur” dressed themselves with a shirt, red toque, a “ceinture fléchée,” and a pair of deer skin leggings. Grade 2s and up made a little toque trader, which represented the hat worn by the “voyageur” and the mascot of the “Carnaval:” the Bonhomme. The grade ones and Kinders made Bonhomme masks and enjoyed running around pretending they were the “Bonhomme Carnaval”.

The “Carnaval” was a huge success with positive feedback, from children, teachers, support staff, and volunteer parents. All the students enjoyed learning about the French/Canadian culture and participating in “Carnaval”, however, the maple syrup demonstration and candy making were undoubtedly the most impressive activity of the day. During this time in Quebec students would run home from school and go straight to the sugar shack. There they would be given a pail to bring out to the maple trees where they would exchange it for the full pail and return it to the sugar shack. It would take 40 pails of maple sap to make a pail of maple syrup. The children were paid with “le tire” the maple toffee candy. To make this delicious treat maple syrup is reduced and heated to 235 degrees Fahrenheit then poured on snow, rolled onto a popsicle stick, and then cooled before enjoying.

Our growing collection of activities and materials that we have created can be shared through CPF. Again, thank you to the PAC and CPF for making this event possible. We look forward to another exciting “Carnaval” at École Braemar Elementary School.

French over the Summer Break

IMG_0104_litchiEvery summer, students look forward to taking a break from schoolwork…but there are many ways for your child to keep up their French over the summer in fun, less structured ways! Here are some ideas!

• Summer French Camps • Community
• Movies • Television
• Libraries • Workbooks and Magazines
• Games • Online activities
• Music • Other cool sites

French summer camps offer opportunities for children to practice their French while engaging in all kinds of exciting activities. Teachers often notice that children are more willing to speak in French if they have attended a camp in French over the summer.

French-languages services & Francophone history in BC:

Watching French movies at home is a fun way to enrich French studies in a relaxed environment.

Several Canadian channels offer a wide variety of French children’s shows to watch online:

Most local libraries offer a variety of French language resources.

Here are some fun ways to practice French as well as some entertaining educational magazines.

Here are some fun traditional games and challenges:

Or play word and number games you already own – Scrabble, Bananagrams, Uno, Boggle etc – en français!

And here some great online games and apps:

Learning songs in French will help children expand their vocabulary, learn new expressions and develop confidence.

Here’s a collection of fun websites from Québec and France:

Edu-inter: A true French Immersion Camp!

Planning a trip out East this summer? Consider this French camp for your young French-language learner(s)!

Edu_Inter_logo-v2Edu-inter, a very unique summer French camp is found in Quebec City within the campus of College Mérici abutting the Plains of Abrahams!  Located in the cradle of French civilization in North America, Quebec City is the only major city in Canada that offers a 100% French speaking environment.  The camp operates entirely in French, both in and out of classes and during all activities for maximum learning impact.  Staff constantly monitor the students to ensure that French is the spoken language at all times.  From beginners to advanced, all levels of French speakers are welcome at Edu-inter.

Edu-Inter offers different programs/activities to meet a variety of student interests. All programs combine French language classes in the morning with a themed afternoon. Length of stay can vary from one week to multiple weeks and afternoon options are pre-selected on a weekly basis (a student can chose to pre-register for the same or for a different afternoon program every week). A choice of lodging of either on-campus residence or home stay (for a more personal experience of Quebec family living and culture) is available. And weekly pedagogical reports are sent to parents.

The French and Arts program (Music, Drama, Cinema, Circus, Cooking or Crafts) and the French and Sports program (Tennis, Figure Skating, Equestrian, Hockey or Soccer) are mostly offered in collaboration with local partners and provide students with an opportunity to mix with local teenagers and further experience French language and culture.

The Multi-activity program is operated directly by the Edu-inter team and offers a variety of cultural and sport activities led by our dedicated counselors. To offer a wide variety of interests to multi-week campers, the list of activities varies from week to week.

During summer camp, evening activity(ies) as well as weekend activities are organized by Edu-inter for the benefit of all participants. Common evening activities for both homestay and residence campers include Imax Cinema, Le Festival d’été de Québec (Quebec Summer Festival), Ghost walking tour, and “Capitales de Québec” Baseball game.

Weekend activities are mandatory for participants in both homestay and in residence and include excursions to Montreal to visit La Ronde theme park, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, or Le Cirque du Soleil; Whale-Watching at Tadoussac, the Sugar Shack experience, Festivent Hot Air Ballon Festival and more.  Please consult the activity programs for complete details and weekend dates of the different activities.

Edu-Inter website