Why get involved
With Dès le début… en français!, the Fédération des Parents du Manitoba is encouraging families to increase the use of services offered in the Centres de la petite enfance et de la famille (CPEF). Given the incredible potential of early childhood development, there are important benefits to be gained from receiving services in French right from birth.
Early Childhood Potential
Research shows that early childhood is the most important period of development for an individual. It is at this stage that the brain is strongly influenced, fundamental progress takes place from a physical, social, intellectual, emotional and linguistic perspective. At age three, the brain is three times more active than the parent’s!
The critical age for learning to speak being 0 to 2 years, early childhood is crucial for language development. The brains of young children are sponges that absorb vocabulary, grammar and the structure of a language.
Studies show that the activities performed by children of 0 to 6 years – playing, talking, and having fun – mark the overall development of an individual and have an impact that will be felt throughout his or her life. Challenges faced by the health system and society today, such as mental health problems, obesity, heart disease, crime or literacy problems have their roots in early childhood, hence the importance of a good start.
See the benefits section to learn more about using services in French right from the birth of your child.
The benefits of using services in French from the time a child is born are numerous and varied.
Language and more
Attending a Centre de la petite enfance et de la famille (CPEF) and participating in its activities helps your child learn French from day one. Remember that the critical age for the introduction of a language is 0 to 2 years.
Between 0 and 6 years, the child not only learns to speak: this period is also critical for physical, social, intellectual and emotional development.
In a linguistic minority community, learning French at birth is essential for children to be school-ready. Children who start school being better prepared succeed throughout their lives.
Learning and having fun in French from a young age has positive health effects that will be felt throughout the life of an individual.
In addition, the opportunity to grow and live in French, of belonging to a community and to experience the relationship between language and culture will continue to promote your child’s well-being and mental health.
Finally, being bilingual or multilingual greatly increases opportunities for your child’s future.
Going to CPEFs offers several advantages not only for children of 0 to 6 years, but also for you, their parents. Among other things, CPEFs provide support to families during pregnancy and throughout the development period of their toddlers.
Equally important, the participation of parents in group activities reduces their isolation, strengthens social ties and gives a sense of belonging to a community. Having access to services in ones own language promotes mental well-being and good health in general.
Receiving services in their own language from birth promotes the healthy, long-term development of individuals. CPEF programs therefore offer benefits to society in general by having balanced and healthy individuals fully contributing economically and socially in their communities.
What can you do?
The objective of Dès le début… en français! is to increase the use of French-language programs and services for francophone children of 0 to 6 years.
We encourage families to take advantage of these services in two ways: by expressing their desire to obtain services in French, and by participating in activities offered by the Centre de la petite enfance et de la famille (CPEF) in their region.
- During pregnancy and after the birth of your child, express to health care providers that you want to communicate in French;
- Regardless of where you are and what you do, always ask for services in French;
- Contact the nearest CPEF to learn about existing programs and resources available for you and your child.
If there are no CPEFs in your community, call 1-888-666-8108 and ask how you can benefit from French-language services.
Am I “francophone”?
The CPEFs provide services for francophone families. The word “francophone” is very inclusive. It includes:
- People whose mother tongue is French
- Families who speak French at home
- Families whose history is in part francophone
- Families where several languages are spoken, of which one is French
- Families wishing to receive services in French
- Newcomers who speak French