Learning a foreign language became statutory for all children in KS2 from September 2014. We have included MFL as part of our curriculum since 2008. We believe learning a language deepens our childrens’ curiosity and understanding of the world and other cultures. MFL provision at Damers enables our children to develop the communication and literacy skills that lay the foundations for future language learning.
We have chosen to base our main body of teaching and learning on French, in line with all the DASP first and middle schools.
How is French taught in our school?
French is taught discretely and currently follows the Catherine Cheater scheme.
The children in KS2 follow a structured programme that includes a 30 minute session each week. Each main session includes a new focus with the opportunity to revise and practice previously taught structures and vocabulary. These sessions are supplemented by 5 minute daily ‘practice parcels’ where the class can consolidate key vocabulary and phrases.
The focus is very much on having fun, being involved and enjoying language, with whole class participation a key feature. The scheme has a strong kinaesthetic and visual approach, using finger rhymes, songs, puppets, circle games, stories and interactive software to bring language to life.
The emphasis in Year 3 is mostly on developing listening skills, closely followed by speaking skills. There is a clear focus on storytelling, finger rhymes and singing traditional songs.
In Year 4 language teaching continues to develop the children’s listening and speaking skills. The emphasis gradually shifts to developing an understanding of basic French grammar such as a knowledge of word classes and some verb forms. The children are also introduced to simple written language.
What about Foundation Stage and KS1?
Foundation Stage children at Damers have the opportunity to learn key words and phrases in French from stories based on the Dinocrocs program. The program is supported by songs and cartoons which the children love to watch and join in with. We have recently enhanced our KS1 MFL provision by ensuring each class in Year 1 and 2 has two six-week units of lessons throughout the year. Again the emphasis is on enjoyment and participation with a strong kinaesthetic element.
Lots of language activity happens outside the lessons as well. We have had Languages Weeks, hosted continental breakfasts and cafes and taken part in a whole school French storytelling project led by a specialist French teacher. Several times a year we welcome visits from Thomas Hardye and DMS pupils to enhance our learning with older pupils as inspiring role models. Our themes have included Christmas and the French festival ‘La Fete des Rois’.
We are hoping to be able to recommence KS2 French club in the near future and also offer KS1 pupils a reprisal of our ‘pop-up’ languages club. Watch this space!