A passion for French culture
She grew up in an English family, but Moira McGuire spends much of each day living in French.
McGuire applied through Engage PEI and was been chosen to represent La Fédération des parents (FPÎPÉ) on the Learning Partners Advisory Council (LPAC). The group represents parents across PEI who are involved in the promotion of French First Language education.
She says she looks forward to advocating for French students across the Island.
“Public perception of the provincial education system tends to focus upon schools within the Public Schools Branch,” she said.
“It’s important that the interests of the francophone population are represented to address issues, such as the need to support our early childhood centre to ensure that we can accommodate children into the French First Language schools at an early age. It’s a very pertinent issue right now.”
Growing up, McGuire learned French through French Immersion classes in the Westisle family of schools. Her husband, Jesse Francis, who works for Parks Canada and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, is also fluently bilingual.
When they married they bought a house in Wellington and decided that their three children would be educated in French. They applied to École Évangéline and were accepted, in part because they could support their children in French.
“We have lived in the Evangeline region for 15 years now,” she said. “It’s a place where French is a living language; it’s spoken not only in the school but throughout the community, at the Co-op, the post office, the rink. My children know the value of learning a second language because of this.”
Moira and Jesse are busy with their three children - Rory, Lucy and Mary-Etta - who are involved with hockey, figure skating and music lessons. Family vacations have given the family the opportunity to visit parts of the francophone world such as the Magdalen Islands, Belgium and France.
When McGuire isn’t busy with her family, or on the job with the Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture as a Bilingual Achievement Specialist, she loves to cycle, play golf, tend to her flower gardens and crack a good book of fiction.
She holds an education degree from St. Francis Xavier University and will graduate this year with a Masters of Education, specializing in Assessment, Languages and Diversity, from the University of Calgary.
“There are positive things happening in our French and English schools; we can learn much from each other and move our learners towards greater success in PEI,” she said.