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 is based on the Catherine Cheater scheme.
The children in KS2 follow a structured programme that includes a 20-30 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, games, stories and digital resources 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 and KS1 children at Damers have the opportunity to learn key words and phrases in French from stories, including those in the Dinocrocs program. The program is supported by songs and cartoons which the children love to watch and join in with. Again the emphasis is on enjoyment and participation with a strong audio/visual and kinaesthetic element.
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. We hope to be able to begin arranging visits from Thomas Hardye and DMS pupils again soon to enhance our learning with older pupils as inspiring role models. These visits have been lively, active and hugely popular with KS2 pupils in the past!
We have had a range of French clubs including ones run by specialist teachers. Currently there is a French Food club for children in KS2.