Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Education in Québec

As an educator and a parent I am always intrigued by our education system here in Québec. Just yesterday I was reminded of Bill 101 when a colleague mentioned to me that her daughter wanted to attend an English school.   My colleague is from another country and married to a francophone that has no English schooling under his belt. This means that they will not be able to comply with the wishes of their child.  By law she will have to attend a French school. 

Hmmmm.....having not thought about this predicament for some time I was forced to reflect on our own choices.  Were they the right ones?

I am now at the other end of that scenario.  
My daughter is graduating from highschool  this month and my son will graduate two years from now.  So, way back when, we made the decision to send our children to French school.  As a matter of fact, we made that decision with little to no hesitation.  We did look around for a school that we thought would best suit the needs of our children.  We wanted an alternative education  hoping that  would reflect a more liberal approach to learning, however, we quickly determined that within a religious-based system there was little to no chance of that happening.  Eventually our children settled into the local community school.  This came after our children brought to our attention their need to know and have friends in the neighbourhood.  So, after a couple of years of alternative school education we saw the light.
The local community school turned out to be even more liberal than the alternative school. Go figure?
By the end of their elementary years they had both established solid friendships and completed 7 years of schooling in schools that we felt would meet our children's needs as best as possible.  We also determined that since our children live in a unilingual French milieu they would need to be part of this community.  They had the perfect opportunity to grow up bilingual.
Of course, bilingualism is a whole other post!!!

So, now as the parent of a graduate, how do I feel?  I think we made the right choice.  Our children feel very much apart of this community and this culture.  They have some Irish blood in them.  And if you are not familiar with the ties between the Irish and the French then that should perhaps be another post.  My daughter recently started taking driving lessons and her instructor was thrilled to know that he would bet spending time with one of his long lost Irish cousins. As he said to her, (translation) "we all have a bit of Irish blood in us too!!"

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