Although they reside in North Vancouver, after her eldest child’s Kindergarten year in their neighbourhood school, Simone Kresnyak and her family felt the fit wasn’t quite right.
“There were more than 500 kids in that school, which for a young child and parents experiencing the system for the first time, didn’t feel quite right for us,” says Kresnyak, who has two children in the West Vancouver French Immersion program. “We began to look around, and came across Ecole Cedardale – aside from its size (it had 100 kids at the time), we really felt we got the answers we needed when we toured the school.”
With a degree in international business and fluent in three languages herself, Simone understood the power that early exposure to more than one language can have.
“I know that introducing another language is good for development and good for the brain. Even knowing just one other language makes it far easier for someone to understand related languages – and even if you understand 20-30 percent of another language – that’s big.”
As luck would have it, the school had a space for her daughter, Mya, for the following fall in Grade 1. Mya, who is now studying to be a classical ballet dancer, currently attends French Immersion through the Super Achievers program at Sentinel Secondary. Her son, Cailen, is currently in Grade 4 at Ecole Cedardale.
“We’ve been involved with this school for 8 years now,” says Simone. “Half the students feel like family to us!”
Simone is very active with her school and PAC, and was consulted often when current principal Michelle began working on bringing the IB French Immersion program to the school. The school is currently an IB PYP candidate school, a move that was widely supported and adopted by the school community as part of its future planning.
“Early on, I felt that making a specific choice for French Immersions means that parents share a common ground and common purpose,” she explains. “That’s been my lived experience too.”