A Filipino bilingual program, believed to be the first in Canada, is now being offered by Manitoba’s Seven Oaks School Division at its Arthur E. Wright Community School in Winnipeg from kindergarten to Grade 3.
The bilingual program offers instruction in Filipino in social studies, music, arts and physical education, with English as the language of instruction for science and math including English Language Arts.
The program emphasizes Filipino culture and history but will produce curriculum outcomes based on the Manitoba Education Curriculum.
The advocacy for a Filipino bilingual program started last year in Winnipeg, home to 76,000 residents of Filipino descent.
In November 2017, the Seven Oaks Filipino Employee Association (SOFEA) hosted a public meeting on a proposal to establish a Filipino bilingual program like those already being offered by the School Division in Ukrainian and Ojibwe languages.
SOFEA President Porfiria Pedrina told Canadian Filipino Net that “The program is beneficial to newcomers who are wanting their children to retain their Filipino language and culture while getting accustomed to their new environment.”
Pedrina adds, “Likewise, it will benefit Filipino children who were born and raised here but still feel very much connected to their cultural heritage.”
Pedrina hopes that the program will grow “in the same manner that we see growth in the migration of Filipino families in Manitoba and Canada as a whole.”
In the information provided by the school division’s website, the program promises to benefit Filipino children who are new to Canada and those who are born and raised in Canada to learn and relate to the Filipino language and heritage.
The program is also open to children of non-Filipino heritage to “gain Filipino language competence that can be applied in social and cultural situations with others.”
At least 18 students are registered in the Filipino bilingual program for the school year 2018-19.
While the Filipino bilingual program may be the first in Canada, a similar curriculum in Ontario called the Philippine Arts and Social Sciences in the Ontario Curriculum (Passoc) for students in grades 6 to 8 under the Toronto Catholic District School Board was also implemented beginning this school year. For more information, click on https://canadianfilipino.net/sections/culture/509-filipino-focused-school-curriculum-goes-mainstream-in-toronto.