Focus on: French at the Prep School | Streatham & Clapham High School

Focus on: French at the Prep School

Andrew Doddridge

 

 

By
Ms Emmanuelle Koeb
BA (London Met), PGCE
Head of French
SCPS

At SCPS, our pupils learn French from Nursery to Year 6 and Mandarin from Nursery to Year 2.

Love Language Learning!

Learning a language has many benefits, apart from the obvious, which is simply to be able to interact with people from another country or culture.

Scientific studies have demonstrated that learning a second language can boost brainpower, increase attention span, raise confidence and develop a better encoding of sounds. This can only enhance other aspects of learning at school.

Having studied German, English and Italian and indeed having grown up in the multi-lingual society that is Switzerland, I have been immersed in language learning all my life. I am able to see now as a teacher how powerful an impact it can have on children’s development.

At SCPS, our pupils learn French from Nursery to Year 6 and Mandarin from Nursery to Year 2. Introducing children to a new language at a young age is crucial. Nursery-aged children are much more likely to be free of inhibition and also have an amazing ability to absorb new information rapidly.

Teaching French to younger children is fun and gratifying. They respond well to songs and can imitate what is being said with ease. French is my first language and it is wonderful to see how they pick up my accent! As the pupils get older, they naturally grow with the language, responding enthusiastically to new challenges.

Equally as important is the opportunity learning a language provides to enrich cultural experience. It offers an awareness and appreciation of different cultures and therefore a better understanding of the world. At SCPS, we ensure our curriculum, from Nursery to Year 6, reflects this.

Every year we organise a French Day so the pupils can experience a wide variety of aspects of a French culture. Year 5 and 6 are invited to watch a French play at the Senior school. In Year 6, girls also exchange letters with pupils from our partner school in Dijon. They actually get to meet these pupils and visit their school during our annual residential trip to Burgundy. This is one of the most exciting moments of the curriculum as learning French moves out of the classroom and into the real world! Unfortunately, any travel to France is severely restricted at the moment but we continue to stay in touch and share our experiences during these difficult times.

Even Early Years pupils don’t miss out, thanks to ‘Paul the Puppet’ who comes to visit the girls. He loves to share stories of his life in Paris and what it’s like to be a pupil at a French school.

Teaching a language to children is so rewarding. Our pupils really do embrace learning French at our school, whether it’s with singing, speaking, writing or playing. And in today’s multicultural world, where we are increasingly living and working on a global scale, this can only be a very good thing for their future.

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