Some people think it odd that I've been taking my son to foreign language classes since he was 6 months old. My Mum was worried that it would confuse him when he was only just starting to pick up on words in English.
But in truth, it's done quite the opposite! At under 3 and a half my son has a very large vocabulary in English, and can now say numerous words in French, including counting to 15 and joining in with various French songs.
In fact, learning a foreign language so young has been shown to boost children's problem-solving skills too, meaning that it can actually help them later with other subjects such as maths - bonus!
I actually first took my son to a Spanish class for several months but then changed my mind when I realised that the primary school he'll hopefully be attending teaches French. I settled on La Grenouille Bleue for 2 reasons: a) it offered classes walking distance away from my home (see below for a list of locations across South Manchester) and b) the teacher is a native French speaker. And we've never looked back!
My honest first impression was that the class we attended was being held in a room that was quite small, there was no room for my son to dance around like he had done during the songs in Spanish class. But then I realised that that didn't matter at all - the session leader, Steph, is so good at holding the children's attention that they don't need to run around (and my son is not one for sitting still).
Whereas the Spanish class we had attended had been 90% singing songs, La Grenouille Bleue French classes are a real mixture of activities. We sing French songs, listen to stories (told in French but explained in English so everyone knows what is happening and gets used to joining in with key catch phrases), play with bells and scarves, and repeat animal names and noises from flash cards.
Although varied, the activities are often repeated so that the words sink in, and by taking part, the children get used to actually speaking the words themselves.
Steph herself is so friendly that all the children love her - my son always looks forward to seeing her. And of course being French herself means that the accent she is passing on is totally authentic.
The way she tells stories is a lot of fun too, better than many people I've witnessed leading English story time sessions. You might want to prepare your little one if they're scared of the big bad wolf though, as many French story books seem to revolve around him! (Rest assured that they all turn out ok in the end.)
La Grenouille Bleue has various locations across South Manchester and offers a range of classes for children aged between 0-5 years, as well as private tuition for older children and adults.
So if you're considering introducing your little one(s) to a foreign language, I would definitely recommend you look at La Grenouille Bleue and wish you 'Bon Chance!'
Useful info: What? French classes for children aged 0-5 and private tuition for older children and adults. Where? Various locations including Chorlton, Didsbury, Sale. When? There are various class times available on weekdays. How much?£6 per session for most classes.
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