Patrick Witwicki, executive director of AFFNO is hosting a weekly Facebook broadcast on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. during May and June to assist students with French language while school is out during COVID-19. (Photo supplied)

Magnific AFFNO

Weekly online broadcast to support students in French language and culture

A weekly French learning web-broadcast is being streamed live by Association des francophones et francophiles du Nord-Ouest (AFFNO) to assist children in the Northwest during COVID-19, to keep up with French language skills while school is out.

The broadcast, known as Magnific AFFNO (After School Special) is on Wednesday’s at 3:30 p.m. and hosts stories, music and workshops in French. Special guests are also a feature, as well as weekly contests and draws.

“We felt we needed to do something to keep in touch with our members. The “After School Special” is for francophone and francophile families who may, or may not, be getting French instruction online. This is one method that we have been able to connect with students,” Patrick Witwicki, executive director of AFFNO said.

The 45 minute program is to assist with the absence of Cultural Link, or the French mobile library, which travels to various locations such as Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, Smithers, Hazleton and to Haida Gwaii, during the warmer months to promote French language, Witwicki said.

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“Our French library is amazing, and we travel throughout the (Northwest) region at least every six to eight weeks with books and DVDs. Local French Immersion and Francophone schools can also request certain titles,” AFFNO said.

Members are able to borrow French books, DVDs and resources to support the language and culture. With COVID-19 restrictions AFFNO has not been able to offer the mobile library service, so instead has gone online.

“We will present something different every Wednesday in May and June, culminating in a highlighted event on June 24 as our virtual Saint-Jean Baptiste Day celebration,” AFFNO said.

Next week, on May 27, the featured guest will be musician and educator Angela Roy, who teaches children by using rhythm and movement in French, English and indigenous languages, such as Haida and Sm’algyax.

The bilingual program, streamed on Facebook live is targeted for families and children of all ages, Witwicki said, even parents can benefit from it whether they are French-first-language or not.

“The education component goes both ways. In light of COVID-19, we feel that French immersion and Francophone kids need engagement because learning on line isn’t the same as a live person. We are trying to present an interactive platform to create connection so they are ready to go in September.”

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“We work hard alongside Canadian Parents for French, parents, and teachers to ensure that French Immersion and Francophones continue to receive the support in our northwestern schools,” AFFNO said.

To watch the program, like the AFFNO Facebook page Association des Francophones et Francophiles du Nord-Ouest.

K-J Millar | Journalist 
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