Group of elementary students standing in front foyer of school, showing of art project they completed Blue Jay Bonhommes 2024

A Winter of Wonder: Schools Revel in Carnaval de Québec

March 12, 2024

The jubilant spirit of the Carnaval de Québec swept through the Abbotsford School District last month, bringing a burst of French Canadian culture right into the classrooms and playgrounds of Clearbrook, Centennial Park, Sandy Hill, and Margaret Stenersen elementary schools.

"Across our district, through the cultural component of our Core French and French Immersion curriculum, students participated in rich learning experiences that help develop intercultural competence,” said Natalie de Wit, Languages K-12 Helping Teacher. “Celebrating 'Carnaval de Québec' at a school site or in a classroom is one example of where our students can explore, make connections, and interact with the French language, culture, traditions, and communities around the world while drawing upon their own language(s) and culture. With this year's Carnaval experiences, K-12 students explored many aspects of the festival out in Abbotsford that embody Bonhomme's 'joie de vivre' and the celebration of winter!"

The Carnaval de Québec festivities offered a variety of engaging activities for students and their families, showcasing the vibrant traditions of the iconic winter festival. The program included a French movie night at Centennial Park, a family Carnaval event at Sandy Hill by WJ Mouat Leadership students, and the construction of a giant 'igloo' ice sculpture from milk jugs at Margaret Stenersen. School-wide Carnaval assemblies allowed students to present about the Carnaval, learn French vocabulary, enjoy Maple syrup at the Sugar Shack and perform traditional songs and skits. Fergus Dalton, a Métis jigger, educated students on jigging at various sites, highlighting the links between the French language and First Peoples communities.

The immersive experience was not only confined to performances and treats. Students from Core French 5-12 classes delved deep into the essence of the Carnaval, creating interactive presentations, embarking on investigative projects, and piecing together the cultural mosaic of French Canadian festivities. Meanwhile, a group of adventurous Grade 8 Core French students from Clayburn Middle School returned from an immersive trip to the actual Carnaval de Québec, an excursion made possible by a heartwarming pen pal class connection.

The Abbotsford School District's Carnaval de Québec celebrations have given students a unique opportunity to embrace and explore French culture, language, and traditions, deepening students' understanding of French Canadian culture and fostering a sense of global community.

About Carnaval de Québec
The Carnaval de Québec is a world-renowned winter festival held annually in Québec City, Canada. It is the largest winter carnival in the world and celebrates French Canadian culture, heritage, and the joys of winter. The festival features a wide range of activities and events, including ice sculpture competitions, parades, outdoor sports, concerts, and the iconic Bonhomme Carnaval, a friendly snowman who serves as the event's mascot.

Learn More