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French culture celebrated in Pitt Meadows

Week saw 528 students and staff at Pitt Meadows Elementary participate in various activities
Students at Pitt Meadows Elementary are celebrating the French culture this week during La Semaine de la Francophonie. (Special to The News)

A celebration of French culture and cuisine took place at Pitt Meadows Elementary this week.

The week called La Semaine de la Francophonie had 528 students and staff participate in various activities, organized by support teacher Melissa Gilders-Joseph.

“Canada is a multicultural country! Students and adults in our school come from a vast range of nations, races, religions, and heritage. This multicultural diversity comes from centuries of immigration. As a result, a diverse population is now one of the distinctive features in our community,” explained Gilders-Joseph about why the event was held.

Every day during the week from March 6-10, students listened to French songs. They also played bingo to learn new vocabulary.

Poutine was served both Monday and Tuesday. There was also a storytelling session on Tuesday, where a bilingual book was read to many classes.

During a start-up assembly, a student from each classroom carried a flag into the gym from a country where people speak French in the world. The flags were placed on a world map so that the students were able to see where those countries are located.

Classrooms watched a short French clip from Radio Canada and answer comprehension questions and there was a dance performance by V’ni Dansi, a Vancouver-based traditional Métis and contemporary dance company dedicated to sharing the dances, stories, and culture of the Métis.

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A picnic held on Wednesday with cheese, croissants, grapes, and sparkling juice.

Students created instruments for a traditional parade called a Tintammare, which is celebrated by Acadians. The parade was held at the school on Thursday.

Also on Thursday a sports day was held where students were physically active outside participating in different activities.

Throughout the week, each classroom did a research project to learn about a country where people speak French.

Then to finish off the week, The Maple Man, aka Rene Turmel, who travels the country teaching children about French Canadian culture, was presenting at the school.

This March 20th was the 21st annual B.C. Francophonie Day – which coincides with International Francophonie Day.

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, issued a statement about the contributions of French-speaking residents to the province.

“This year, we recognize the significant contributions francophone organizations in British Columbia make in helping francophone newcomers feel welcomed, settled and integrated in our province,” said Dix.

Dix also announced $250,000 in ongoing funding to support projects benefiting Francophonie in B.C. and handed out the B.C. Francophonie Day Award to an organization in Prince George, Le Cercle des Canadiens Francais de Prince George, for providing a welcoming environment for immigrants and helps with their community integration.

“British Columbia is home to thousands of French-speaking residents and welcomes many French-speaking Canadians and newcomers annually, all of whom contribute to the richness of the province,” continued the Minister.

La Francophone is celebrated around the world every year during the month of March with the goal of celebrating the French culture and getting together with others and sharing.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

Colleen Flanagan is an award-winning multimedia journalist with more than 15 years experience in the industry.
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