Calgary's public school board is considering an alternative program that focuses on Arabic language and culture.
The Calgary Board of Education already offers similar programs in Spanish, German, and Mandarin, where some of the classes are taught in the second language, such as gym and math.
If enough parents are interested, the board would offering a Arabic program for kindergarten and Grade 1 students in September 2012 and expand it one grade per year, the board announced Monday.
An open house will be held on May 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Central Memorial High School, 5111 21 Street S.W.
"The initiative to canvas public interest is part of the [board's] commitment to meeting the diverse and changing needs of students. By providing choice through alternative programs, students can find opportunities to best meet their learning needs," the school board said in a press release.
Teachers wouldn't presume that Arabic is the prevalent language at home and previous experience with the language wouldn't be required by students, the school board said.
The school board also offers French immersion programs, starting in kindergarten and Grade 7.
Last month public school students in the city learned that second language classes will no longer be mandatory in Grades 4 through 9, starting in the next school year.
French and other languages will still be offered as an option in Grades 7 through 9, but schools with students in Grades 4 through 6 will decide whether to offer a second language, and which one to offer.