French is taught to all children, from Reception to Year 6, by a specialist French teacher. The development of speaking and listening skills is key across the entire age range, and to this end, songs, games and role play feature highly. As children progress through Key Stage 2, the skills of reading and writing become increasingly important. Not only do they serve to help children memorise new language, but they also enable links to be made with grammar learned in the English curriculum. It is exciting to watch children discover that they can make use of their grammatical knowledge in another language.
The cultural element of language learning is incorporated into lessons to bring the language alive and we look at the French-speaking world, not only France. We have a well-established (9 years) partnership with La Villette elementary school in Paris and in Year 5, children are given penfriends from the school. We have an annual day trip to Paris, during which the Year 5 children meet their penfriends in their school and see some of the major sights of this beautiful city. The friendships are strengthened by a return visit by the French children to St Mary’s. Food plays an important role in cultural and linguistic learning and we hold very popular French cafés on both Church Lane and Rectory Gardens sites, in addition to food tasting in lessons.
French film is invaluable in conveying aspects of French culture as well as showcasing language in a ‘real’ context. Year 6 are given the opportunity to watch a French language film of our choice at the ArtHouse Cinema in Crouch End and some of our pupils have watched films at the Barbican and the Ciné Lumière at the Institut Français.
Extra information for parents
We are now in our 3rd year of introducing French from Reception and the current learning experience is as follows: Reception (1st year), Year 1 (2nd year), Years 2, 3, 4, 5 (3rd year), Year 6 (4th year). We plan for progression in the French curriculum, whilst fitting in as much as possible with class topics. Nevertheless, there is inevitable overlap in the linguistic content of lessons from Year 2 to 5 (3rd year of learning French). Below are some links to familiar songs on YouTube and to games and activities which will support your child’s learning of French.
Reception – Y2:
Reception – Y6