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Pemberton gets francophone school

Like the Alta Lake and Cedar Valley schools, ideals also played into the formation of Pemberton’s new francophone school, opening this September.


Spearheaded by Liz Kelly and Serge Coté, the yet-to-be name school will be housed in Signal Hill Elementary.

The school differs from traditional French immersion programs as francophone culture and history, as well as language, are part of the curriculum. To qualify for the program a child must be of francophone heritage or have a parent who was educated in French.

Kelly, whose husband is francophone, is excited that her children will have the opportunity to learn about their cultural heritage in their own community.

"It’s important because the children’s friends are here, this is where we live," says Kelly. "It’s also nice not to have to rely on the busses."

The new school is an offshoot of Whistler’s L’Ecole la Passerelle, which also oversees Squamish’s Les Aiglons, which occupies space in Garibaldi Heights Elementary.

Kelly and Coté, were among a group of Pemberton-based parents, whose children commuted to Whistler, to Myrtle Philip and later to Spring Creek, to take advantage of the longstanding francophone program.

Serving the Whistler francophone community for the past decade, the enrolment at L’Ecole la Passerelle is close to 70 students.

While the actual number of students at the new Pemberton school will not be known until classes commence, Kelly believes the number will be around 20.

"We anticipate there’s going to be two classroom with kindergarten to Grade 3 in one room and Grades 4 through 7 in the other," says Kelly.

For more information about the area’s francophone schools contact L’Ecole la Passerelle at 604-932-9602.