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French for 5 year olds

Discussion in 'Primary' started by cleobud, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. cleobud

    cleobud New commenter

    We have an external provider who runs a French club at lunchtimes for Reception to Year 2s. Some of the Reception children who attend struggle with phonics and reading in English so I am wondering if there are any benefits to them learning a second language. The parents pay for this once a week.
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    Talking and listening activities are very appropriate for Reception and KS1 pupils. Embedding the French throughout the day is the most effective approach for ensuring the children make good progress.

    Reading and writing in French is best avoided until Year 3. This ensures the children have fully grasped the English phonics and are less likely to be confused by some of the French phonics being different, e.g. ch in church makes a different sound to ch in chien.
    ViolaClef and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I have to agree with bonxie that providing seeing the French words written is avoided and just phonics taught there should be few problems and seeing all languages are made up of phonics is no bad thing. The earlier there 'ear' becomes attuned to the foreign sounds the better.
    Don't underestimate children's abilities. Yes there may be problems with a few children, but those would be the ones who would struggle anyway. And in fact being exposed to more phoncis may actually help fine-tune their listening.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    There might not be very much written French involved, and if the provider is any good, hopefully they can minimise this for those who are struggling.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Our school learn French on their timetable from age three.
    Doesn't seem to stop them achieving highly in English.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    If the activities are all oral and aural with games to play and songs to sing then there shouldn’t be any problem. I know of a school where their earliest French ‘lessons’ are all play-based, and the teacher will only speak French for the duration of the session, so it’s almost a process of immersion - just the way children assimilate their mother tongue.
  7. cleobud

    cleobud New commenter

    Thank you for your replies. It was my understanding that it should be done orally with no written work until later. The children are given a worksheet for homework each week which has French words on.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If it is an external provider and parents pay, then I would leave them to it.
    It the club isn't good enough, parents will soon stop paying and children stop attending.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. cleobud

    cleobud New commenter

    I don't think it's as simple as parents voting with their feet in this case. Sadly some parents are swayed by the view that by sending their children to clubs they are giving them a head start (says so in the letter). I asked a member of staff whose son attends and she says he can't say 'my name is'...he's been attending for over a year, but could retell a lovely story in English.
    I agree that a foreign language is better practised throughout the week and in different contexts orally and aurally.
    Think a review of the club is needed.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  10. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    I'll buck the trend and say two things.
    First if children are struggling in their first language, adding a second isn't usually best use of time. I'm sure we see this with EAL learners who are not yet fluent in their home language. They often struggle with English too. Of course I appreciate that you mentioned phonics rather than language per se but are they struggling with that because of other things going on for them?
    Second, using lunch time takes away other possible activities, particularly for physical development, which are often more important, for some more than others.
    Obviously parents choice if they pay but if I've noticed that children are not really benefiting ( and certainly if they are not enjoying) then I would speak to the parents and explain that perhaps the time could be better spent in other ways.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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