Month: September 2017

Simple craft time! Butterfly footprints!

I love this little activity which we sometimes do at our summer classes.

Looking for a craft which doubles up as a lovely keepsake? This is a sweet painting, sensory activity which can be done with any age from baby to older child.

Sing ‘Vole, vole, vole papillon’ then look at the colours together for some memorable French learning.

Here is a link for the tune and a version of the song (the one we do in class is a little bit different but this is a nice video!)

It is all explained with visuals in the activity!

Amusez-vous bien! Have fun! x


Recipe Time! Cat’s Tongue Biscuits!

Don’t under-estimate learning about other cultures in the early years!

Cultural awareness and learning about the diverse world we live not only:

  • fosters tolerance, and,
  • improves general knowledge

but also, has been shown to:

  • promote problem-solving skills
  • creativity

This is because children learn that there are several ways to do things!

Talk about other cultures via cooking! I cook and bake with my kids a lot and we love exploring French recipes – I have loads to share with you! Here is a simple fun biscuit recipe with a very quirky name! The recipe is in French and English. Bon appétit!

“Langues de Chat” Recipe

Use the recipe as a basis to discuss animals in French. Here is a link to a version of “Old MacDonald” in French!

There are also lots of animal songs in our Best of Mini French Album which you can dowload now!

Scotland and France

Languages in Primary Schools 1+2 Initiative Scotland

Bonjour Scottish parents!

Do you know about the Scottish Government’s ambitious modern language policy for schools: Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach?

If you have a school aged child attending a local primary school then you will know that they are being encouraged to use French terms and expressions daily at school. I hear a lovely P3 teacher welcoming the children in French every morning at my child’s school!

There is strong evidence to suggest that young children have the ability to learn languages more easily than adults given their mental agility. I can only see advantages in starting a second language in the early years of childhood – I applaud this! No surprises there! We MUST get better at languages as a country! We live in a multilingual world and I am delighted that it is part of the primary school curriculum.

There is, of course, varying abilities across teachers and, knowing many primary teachers, this has been a daunting task for many of them but they have risen to the challenge admirably!

Here is the lowdown:

– every child in Scotland has the opportunity to learn a modern language from P1 onwards
– each child, irrespective of ability, should have the right to learn a second modern language from P5 onwards
– the policy should be fully implemented across the country by 2020
– it falls to local authorities to decide how and when to put their implementation plans into action

So what does it all mean?
Primary schools have been working (scrambling?) to find ways to build the teaching of two languages (in addition to English) into their daily routines. A challenge!

Some primary schools are sending teachers on external training to up-skill and others are bringing in third parties to run workshops for pupils and teachers to build a culture of language learning. Clusters of schools are being encouraged to work together and pool resources including visits from local secondary school Modern Language Teachers. Teachers are told they do not need to be fluent but they do need to have a base knowledge of the language. Which seems about right..!

How will these languages be taught?
When I first heard about this as far back as 2011/ 2012. I must admit that I feared teachers reaching for a stack of dusty flashcards…

However, I have been pleasantly surprised.

Guidance in the Curriculum for Excellence rightly points out that “Language learning is greatly enhanced where it is linked to or embedded in the wider curriculum so that children and young people can enjoy exploring and using language in meaningful contexts”. So in addition to using relevant, daily expressions in the classroom, modern languages lessons are being linked to topics and themes in the class to make learning meaningful. I feel this is the right approach.

If you are a parent with a good level of French and you feel you could assist the teaching team at your local school by going in and reading stories, helping at French time etc… reach out to your local school. I am sure they would be glad of the support.

Education Scotland: Framework for primary schools – Guidance for P1
Language Learning in Scotland A 1+2 Approach: Report and Recommendations 2012

Image: Created by Natanaelginting – Freepik.com