The Bonhomme Carnaval mascot visits Ardrossan Elementary students at their Carnaval celebration.

The Bonhomme Carnaval mascot visits Ardrossan Elementary students at their Carnaval celebration.

Sherwood Park, AB. — This March, many Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) staff and students are traveling outdoors into a snowy wonderland and taking part in French traditions to celebrate Alberta Francophonie Month. French Immersion schools across the Division are holding all kinds of activities rooted in French culture—from Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie to Carnaval.

“I love Francophonie month for so many reasons,” says Sophia Hutchings, a Grade 10 student at Ardrossan Junior Senior High. “I get opportunities that most other students wouldn’t get, such as speaking with the bilingual singer Patrick Watson last year and seeing ‘Circo Balanzo’ this year.”

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie is an annual festival celebrated nationwide to honour the French language and francophone culture from March 1-31. Through a host of lesson plans and activities focused on the francophone culture, the French language and the benefits of being bilingual in Canada, EIPS students will experience first-hand francophone traditions. Some of this year’s highlights include performances by francophone singers, musicians, actors, dancers and comedians.

Schools will also host winter carnivals—similar to the Carnaval de Quebec—featuring special appearances from the Bonhomme Carnaval mascot, sleigh rides, ice sculpting, sled races and food tastings with traditional French cuisines such as tire d’érable—hot maple syrup drizzled and hardened on snow.

“Learning French is more than just knowing how to speak or write the language,” says Andréa Bernard, a teacher at Heritage Hills Elementary. “To fully understand, you must embrace every aspect of the language, including the culture and history of its people. Celebrating ‘La Francophonie’ helps students expand their horizon on diverse perspectives and traditions, while highlighting the importance of learning a second language.”

Additionally, schools will participate in International Francophonie Day—an annual event celebrated globally to promote the French language and francophone culture. All six EIPS French Immersion schools are taking part in Alberta Francophonie Month—Ardrossan Elementary, Ardrossan Junior Senior High, École Campbelltown, École Parc Élémentaire, Heritage Hills Elementary and Sherwood Heights Junior High. EIPS Franco-Albertan activities wrap up on March 31.

Representatives of the media are invited to join staff and students at the schools listed above for their events to celebrate Alberta Francophonie Month. For more event details, contact the schools directly.

NOTE: Principals have the responsibility to limit media coverage only to students approved for interviews. Reporters attending the event are requested to receive permission from a school EIPS representative before interviewing or photographing students. Thank you for your co-operation, and for joining us.


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,460 students in 43 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.



For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902