“Language impacts the daily lives of members of any race, creed, and region of the world. Language helps express our feelings, desires, and queries to the world around us. Words, gestures and tone are utilized in union to portray a broad spectrum of emotion. The unique and diverse methods human beings can use to communicate through written and spoken language is a large part of what allows to harness our innate ability to form lasting bonds with one another; separating mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom.” (Leonardo De Valoes)
In order to prepare children to be the next generation of future entrepreneurs, doctors, scientists, engineers, or whatever influential job they choose, we must foster an environment from a young age that promotes multilingual learning. Through this we are setting up ourselves, our children, and our children’s children, for growth, success, security, and ultimately, prosperity.
Therefore, it is up to us to create a warm and comfortable environment in which our children can grow to learn the complexities of language. The communication skills that our children learn early in life will be the foundation for their communication abilities for the future.
Strong language skills are an asset that will promote a lifetime of effective communication. Our language is the most important part of our being. It is important to learn other languages, other forms of communication besides our own because it helps us to learn about other peoples and cultures.
Scientific research has shown that babies are born with the ability to distinguish all the possible sounds of the world languages, therefore the first months and years of a child’s life are crucial for sound recognition. Words, sounds and intonation will be naturally absorbed during a critical period of a child’s linguistic development. Also proved is that young babies and toddlers have a greater capacity for tuning into foreign language sounds than at any other time in their lives. A “good” accent is much harder to master later and developing an ear for what “sounds right” becomes impossible for some older children.
Children repeat sounds and, when rewarded by attention from an adult, this stimulates them to continue or increase vocalisation. When a child learns a second language, the same principles apply. The more they enjoy learning a language when they are young, the more likely they are going to find it a positive experience when they are older.
So why learn a language so early?
It’s true that young children can be enthusiastic about the new language and acquire it rather than learn it and can be exposed to a rich and varied range of expressions and structures through the natural context of play. Infants have the ability to learn any language easily. Their brain will absorb languages with amazing competence. Later learners can find mastering vocabulary easy enough, but accent, intonation and instinctively knowing what sounds right are much harder to achieve. It’s not impossible, but most experts agree that there is a continuous decline in ability with age, with babies from as young as 7 months of age beginning to dismiss sounds that are not relevant for the languages that they are exposed to. Studies show that, up to about 6 months babies can recognize all the sounds that make up all the languages in the world.
Not only do young children absorb words and phrases easily through repeated exposure to the language, (just as they do when learning their first language), but children also develop other skills alongside. Pre-schoolers, toddlers and babies will learn at their own pace, largely by watching and imitating. Babies watch their counterparts and older children which in turn stimulates them to make their first moves toward crawling, standing and becoming more vocal. The earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language the better, but for this exposure to provide maximum benefit certain criteria should be met.
Multiple intelligences should be catered for – this is easiest to achieve for very young learners, where stimulation can be provided through music, movement, visual props and sensory experiences, games involving numeracy and reasoning skills, rhymes and poetry, artistic and imaginary play. Learning in a group also allows for interaction with others and develops social skills and tolerance. Research has shown that the best way for children to learn a second language is through social interactions and daily exposure to the language.
Different areas of the brain are involved in learning; it is linked to emotion, so it must be fun and exciting and it is especially beneficial if a parent or other carer with a close relationship to the toddler can be involved to support and encourage their learning. Therefore exposing a pre-schooler to another language as early as possible will enable him/her to be better equipped with the necessary perceptual skills for learning and for speaking it with a new perfect accent!
Leading expert Patricia Kuhl is internationally recognised for her research on early language and brain development, and studies that show how young children learn. Her work has played a major role in demonstrating how early exposure to language alters the brain, she says: “Babies all over the world are what I like to describe as ‘citizens of the world.’ They can discriminate all the sounds of all languages, no matter what country we’re testing and what language we’re using. When babies listen, what they’re doing is taking statistics on the language that they hear. Why is it that some adults pronounce French with a foreign accent and toddlers will not? Because they no longer perceive sounds the way they did as infants. Now they hear the sounds through the filter of English and as a result they have a foreign accent”.
NOTHERN IRELAND RESEARCH
The review of primary languages in Northern Ireland has been carried out by researchers earlier this year from Stranmillis University College. The authors surveyed language learning at over 100 schools. They found that Spanish and French were most popular in schools where languages were taught. However, not all primary schools taught an additional language. This led the authors to conclude that there was “a lack of equity in provision for children” across the country. They also found little consistency in how often languages were taught to pupils, and when they began to learn a language. Some primary principals also expressed concerns about the amount of support and resources available to their teachers and pupils. However, the majority of principals and teachers who participated in the study agreed that learning an additional language was important and valuable. But they also said teaching foreign languages was not a priority for schools as it was not assessed or measured. The report’s authors said that the development of language skills was “vital for economic prosperity, social cohesion and the acceptance of diverse cultural identities”.
“It is hoped that the findings of this study may encourage policy makers, business and educational providers to support the revision and improvement of current curriculum provision in additional language learning,” the report said. It also said that language learning was “conducive to economic growth and that can enhance the lives and future employability of children and young people”.
Across the European Union (EU) more than 80% of primary pupils learn an additional language.
THE BENEFITS OF LEARNING LANGUAGES
So what can learning another language do for a child anyway?
- ENHANCE LIFE SKILLS – Speaking another language opens the door to new possibilities and opportunities. Travel and lifelong friendships are built with the people you meet along the way if you’re able to communicate easily.
- DEVELOP CONFIDENCE AND SELF ESTEEM -Learning a second language is incredibly rewarding and can enrich personal life too. We encourage children to use language in real life situations which in turn will enable them to overcome fears and doubts leaving them feeling much more confident.
- BOOST OTHER LEARNING – Research has found that pupils who study foreign languages, tend to score better at standardised tests than their monolingual peers. This has been particularly noticeable in maths, reading, and vocabulary.
- IMPROVE YOUR EMPLOYABILITY – Our globalised world means companies are constantly expanding overseas plus dealing with clients from all over the world. Speaking a second language enables you to communicate with a broader network.
- PROVIDE A WINDOW INTO THE WORLD – Language has an indisputable impact on our world view. Not only does it influence us through the cultural heritage it conveys, but also through vocabulary and grammar. Different cultures and nations awareness enable us with the great skill to develop empathy and grow within ourselves.
Why is the French language important in today’s world?
80 million people around the world speak French as a native language.
61 million of them live in France, naturally. But French-speaking communities exist around the world: Quebec and New Brunswick, Canada, Wallonia, Belgium, Parts of Switzerland, Monaco, 22 French-speaking countries in Africa.
Amongst EU citizens, French is the fourth most common mother tongue. Or maybe it’s the second most common. It depends on who you’re asking.
12% of EU citizens speak it. And while the number of French native speakers may pale in comparison to the number of native speakers of Mandarin, Spanish or English, that’s only half the story.
Because . . .
274 million people around the world speak French.
190 million people speak French as a second language, and experts estimate that a total of 274 million people around the world can speak French as either a first or a second language. Out of that number, 212 million use it daily.
Meanwhile, 1 out 5 Europeans speaks French as a second language.
French is the only language other than English that is spoken on at least 5 continents.
Like English, French is truly a global language. French is an official language in Europe (of course), but also in North America, South America, Africa, Asia and French Polynesia.
There’s also a small French research station on Adélie Land in Antarctica, Dumont d’Urville Station. The station has a permanent population of 33 people, and primarily studies local wildlife, especially emperor penguins.
The number of French speakers is growing, rapidly.
French may not enjoy the same level of prestige it had in the 17th century, but it’s not a language in decline. Far from it. In fact, demographic projections show the number of French speakers almost doubling to 500 million in 2025 and 650 million by 2050.
Many of these new French speakers will come from rapidly growing Africa. In fact . . .
Africa is the continent with the most French speakers in the world.
Are you surprised? French is an official language in 29 African countries, where it is generally spoken alongside indigenous languages.
Within the next decade, French could become the most widely-spoken native language in Europe.
According to the France Diplomatie website, “Demographers forecast that France’s birth rate will make French the most widely spoken mother tongue in Europe, ousting German, by 2025.”
Bloomberg ranked French the third most useful language for business.
Only Mandarin and English ranked higher.
Over 87 major international organizations use French as an official administrative or working language.
The list includes the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, the Red Cross, the Word Trade Organization, NATO, FIFA and more.
French is the 6th most common language on the Internet.
4.1% of content from the top 10 million websites it written in French. As of June 2016, 102,171,481 Internet users were French speakers. This number will probably increase as more and more of Africa gets online.
At least 29% of modern English vocabulary comes from French.
The English language owes quite a bit to French, like over a quarter of our vocabulary. Some sources even claim up to 45% of English words have French origins.
French is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn.
It’s second only to Spanish, which has a simpler grammar. That said, as noted above, English vocabulary has more in common with French than with Spanish
French is an important language for international business.
There’s no getting around it. French is an important language for international business. The French economy is the sixth-largest in the world. It’s the third-largest economy in Europe. And it’s in fourth place in the Fortune Global 500, outranked only by the US, China, and Japan. French is also an official language for some of the most dynamic emerging economies in Africa. For example, these are the African economies expected to grow the most in 2017, according to Quartz: Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Morocco. French is an official language in all but Morocco. And even in Morocco, French is an important language. It serves as “Morocco’s primary language of commerce and economics, culture, sciences, and medicine; it is also widely used in education and government.”
For these reasons, according to the British Council, 49 percent of UK businesses are seeking out French-speaking employees.
LA JOLIE RONDE
What is La Jolie Ronde?
La Jolie Ronde Ltd (www.lajolieronde.co.uk or www.lajolieronde.ie) is a leading provider of French and Spanish language learning to children aged 0-11 as well as a supplier of language resources to primary schools across the UK & Ireland and abroad. Established in 1983, years of development, dedication and experience in the sector of early language learning, has made La Jolie Ronde the market leader, committed to offering the best possible start to young learners. La Jolie Ronde offers out of school language tuition in French and Spanish through its network of over 560 licensees and tutors, teaching in over 1,660 nurseries, schools and centres across the UK and Ireland. The La Jolie Ronde Structured Programme, Schemes of Work and other primary resources have been developed to be fully in line with the National Curriculum guidelines and are used in thousands of primary schools, independent schools and schools abroad. La Jolie Ronde is part of the Ulverscroft Group of Companies. In 2013, La Jolie Ronde celebrated 30 years in primary language teaching
In a National Children’s Education Awards La Jolie Ronde have been voted for the 4th consecutive year Best National Activity for Children – chosen for by parents.
The main features of the La Jolie Ronde programme:
La Jolie Ronde programme has four starting points:
- “Viens jouer avec Matou et Tounette” (3 to 5 years old );
- “Les Aventures de Minou et Trottine et les Saisons” ( 5 to 7 years old );
- “Salut Céline et Antoine” ( 7 to 8 years old );
- “Bonjour la France” ( 8 to 11 years old).
La Jolie Ronde programme distinguishes from other programmes because it is researched, tried and tested as well as structured and adapted to the children’s stages of development. The different programmes are tailored to the children’s needs and interests using “real world” basis and experiences the children can relate to. The programme is structured and planned to allow continuity and progression. It is an oral based course in which the children are actively involved, stimulated and encouraged.
La Jolie Ronde programme introduces the four skills of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking at different stages and always in line with the child’s level of development in order to encourage the child in his/her learning experience. The programme is lived by the children as a game; where discovering and learning is FUN thus enjoyable. Logical thinking and memorising skills are therefore stimulated and improving naturally. The process of “recycling” vocabulary on a regular basis is one of the strength of La Jolie Ronde programme. It allows the children to recall previously acquired knowledge and use this particular knowledge towards new learning acquisitions.
La Jolie Ronde programme is devised by teachers for teachers. Materials and resources are of high quality and design. The activity books help to chart progress, therefore there is continuous assessment embedded in the course. Observations and feedback to the parents/families are facilitated.
The La Jolie Ronde classes provide:
• Public liability insurance;
• A unique and well-established structured language course;
• An authentic accent for the children to pick up;
• Small classes with children of similar age;
• Conversation, basic grammar, games, role-plays, rhymes and stories;
• An awareness of the foreign country, its geography and its culture;
• Regular reports on children’s progress.
The benefits for children:
Children are getting the best language programme available proven over 30 years of development, tested and regularly updated. The structured programme allows creativity, measurable rapid progress and is easy to join at any stage. Children of all ages and ability can enjoy La Jolie Ronde programme through opportunities for success at every level and differentiation. The programme favours sound preparation and is designed to provide an excellent transition to Secondary level education. The activity books are specially designed to be attractive, the children personalise them and use them as reference. The content of the programme is relevant to the children’s needs and interest and reflect real world experiences. The classes are fun, the children experience language learning through interest, reward, challenge, stimulation and motivation. It provides the children with a “window onto the outside world”.
SO WHY CHOOSE LA JOLIE RONDE?
With La Jolie Ronde you have the security and reassurance of a long and proven experience of teaching French & Spanish to young children. Our Programmes are used as part of the curriculum in hundreds of top prep schools in the UK and are taught across the world including the USA, Indonesia, Australia, South America, Africa, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and Japan. Our Founder, Colette Hallam, has had her achievements in bringing the French language to a wider audience recognised by the French Government who awarded Colette the honour of “Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques”.
Over 60% (and growing on a daily basis) of UK primary schools have chosen our French and Spanish Programmes, schemes and resources to teach their pupils. Teaching and learning a language could not be easier with our award-winning French & Spanish resources. We reward and motivate pupils through our programmes, past and current pupils enjoy working with our resources, leaving Key Stage 2 as skilled, confident and enthusiastic language learners.
Years of development, dedication and experience in the sector of early language learning, La Jolie Ronde has become the market leader, committed to offering the best possible start to young learners. This could not have been achieved without our excellent and loyal network of over 560 tutors (some of whom have been with us for over 20 years) who teach in over 1,660 centres across the UK and Ireland to a current membership base of around 20,500 children.
NATHALIE SAIVE, PERFECT LANGUAGE GATEWAY!
“You never know where life will bring you.” I have experienced the true meaning of this and can assure you that life can be mysterious regardless of who you are or where you come from. I was born and raised in France; a trip to Ireland at 20 opened up my mind and I took the courage to move into the Emerald Isle to work, to experience, to live…This is what one can afford when one is young. Years passed by and I find myself completely settled in Mayo with everything I could have wished for and nothing I had expected!
Who better than I, understands the full meaning of the word “adapting”? The environment, the language, the people, the culture, the food, the landscape, the climate, the relationships; all these things taken for granted, all of them had to be observed, analysed and absorbed. And yes, I felt like a child described by Maria Montessori in one of her observational session; absorbing everything around me as fast as my abilities let me, like a sponge sucks up liquid. Not an easy task one can say, however how rewarding to see things with new eyes, to approach situations from a different angle, to allow oneself to reflect differently. It is almost like feeling one’s brain grow within one’s skull! I now like to compare myself as Wendy (from Bob the builder) with a hammer in my left hand and a drill in my right. Before, I only had a hammer… Learning a new language creates brain creativity, empowers with new tools, widens vocabulary and opens one’s mind about the world but also about oneself. It brings so much more meaning to LIFE.
I believe that I understand perfectly the importance of learning a language at a very young age and I feel privileged to teach children (from every background) my native tongue. I provide language learning experiences rather than French classes as my sessions are fun and engaging, including games, rhymes, stories, songs, geography, culture, history, puppetry and much more. The children are the heart of each of my sessions; they lead their own language awareness acquirements unconsciously. That is the beauty of my work.
My aim is to raise an awareness of different languages, culture, nations and people in these young children and to provide a window onto the outside world while developing self- confidence, a sense of empathy and a joy for learning, creating, growing, LIVING.
I have dedicated my whole life to children. My mother became a Childminder when I was seven, and I, her little helper. I studied Childcare in France after my leaving certificate then moved to Ireland. I learned about Maria Montessori and decided to study her method and beliefs. I worked both in public and private Childcare settings in Mayo where I acquired invaluable experience. I had two children of my own before deciding to open my own Childminding service. I now offer French sessions to the children of my community both in Pre-School and Primary School settings. I believe that education and general awareness is extremely important, that is why I aim to continuously upgrade my qualifications through completion of various courses. I love my work; the challenges, the rewards, the children, they all provide me with a role to play, giving me a real purpose. At the end of the day we all need purpose to enjoy life; I have found mine.
For more details on my past professional life, please see Curriculum Vitae enclosed.
PRE-SCHOOL SETTINGS AND LANGUAGE AWARENESS
The environment a Pre-School setting offers to children is perfect in order to raise language awareness. I have been delivering French sessions in Derrywash Montessori Pre-School since January 2017 and the feedback has been tremendous. The children absolutely love the classes which occur once a week for half an hour. Their enthusiasm and participation are wonderful and their abilities to learn never cease to amaze me. I provide parents with feedback emails and tips to reinforce learning at home and have fun together with a foreign language. The activity book and audio CD are brilliant resources that enable children and parents to continue their learning journey at home, in the car, in their own time. A parent sent me an email recently to tell me that her three year old girl went to bed with her French activity book as she knew that “French” was on tomorrow! The owner and manager of the Pre-School completely understands the importance of language awareness at this young age and supports my French sessions in all possible ways. She witnesses and values the benefits of the sessions each week and her enthusiasm towards them is as high as the children’s. I provide her with extension activities to reinforce learning and we work together in order to maximise the children’s learning experiences. The fact that I previously worked in Childcare settings is a huge asset as I understand children and staff members accurately; their needs, expectations, behaviours. Communication is facilitated and working alongside each other results in smooth transitions.
My French sessions fit perfectly into the four Aistear themes:
|Children will be strong psychologically and socially.||Make strong attachments and develop warm and supportive relationships with family, peers and adults in out-of-home settings and in their community.|
Handle transitions and changes well.
Be confident and self-reliant.
Respect themselves, others and the environment
Make decisions and choices about their own learning and development.
|Children will be as healthy and fit as they can be.||Gain increasing control and co-ordination of body movement.|
Discover, explore and refine gross and fine motor skills.
|Children will be creative and spiritual.||Express themselves creatively and experience the arts.|
Express themselves through a variety of types of play.
Develop and nurture their sense of wonder and awe.
Become reflective and think flexibly.
understand that others may have beliefs and values different to their own.
|Children will have positive outlooks on learning and on life.||Show increasing independence, and be able to make choices and decisions.|
Demonstrate a sense of mastery and belief in their own abilities and display learning dispositions, such as determination and perseverance
Motivate themselves, and welcome and seek challenge.
Respect life, their own and others, and know that life has a meaning and purpose.
Identity and Belonging:
|Children will have strong self-identities and will feel respected and affirmed as unique individuals with their own life stories.||Build respectful relationships with others.|
Appreciate the features that make a person special and unique (name).
Have a sense of ‘who they are’ and be able to describe their backgrounds, strengths and abilities.
Express their own ideas, preferences and needs, and have these responded to with respect and consistency.
|Children will have a sense of group identity where links with their family and community are acknowledged and extended||Feel that they have a place and a right to belong to the group.|
Know that members of their family and community are positively acknowledged and welcomed.
Be able to share personal experiences about their own families and cultures, and come to know that there is a diversity of family structures, cultures and backgrounds
Understand and take part in routines, customs, festivals, and celebrations.
|Children will be able to express their rights and show an understanding and regard for the identity, rights and views of others.||Interact, work co-operatively, and help others.|
Be aware of and respect others’ needs, rights, feelings, culture, language, background, and religious beliefs.
|Children will see themselves as capable learners.||Develop a broad range of abilities and interests.|
Demonstrate dispositions like curiosity, persistence and responsibility.
Be motivated, and begin to think about and recognise their own progress and achievements.
|Children will use non-verbal communication skills.||Use a range of body movements and facial expressions to show feelings and share information.|
Understand and use non-verbal communication rules, such as turn-taking and making eye contact.
Interpret and respond to non-verbal communication by others.
|Children will use language.||Interact with other children and adults by listening, discussing and taking turns in conversation.|
Explore sound, pattern, rhythm, and repetition in language.
Use an expanding vocabulary of words and phrases, and show a growing understanding of syntax and meaning.
Use language with confidence and competence for giving and receiving information, asking questions, requesting, refusing, negotiating, problem-solving, imagining and recreating roles and situations, and clarifying thinking, ideas and feelings.
Become proficient users of at least one language and have an awareness and appreciation of other languages
Be positive about their home language, and know that they can use different languages to communicate with different people and in different situations.
|Children will broaden their|
understanding of the world by making sense of experiences through language.
|Use language to interpret experiences, to solve problems, and to clarify thinking, ideas and feelings.|
Use books and ICT for fun, to gain information and broaden their understanding of the world.
Build awareness of the variety of symbols (pictures, print, numbers) used to communicate, and understand that these can be read by others.
Become familiar with and use a variety of print in an enjoyable and meaningful way.
Have opportunities to use a variety of mark-making materials and implements in an enjoyable and meaningful way.
Develop counting skills, and a growing understanding of the meaning and use of numbers and mathematical language in an enjoyable and meaningful way.
|Children will express themselves creatively and imaginatively.||Share their feelings, thoughts and ideas by story-telling, making art, moving to music, role-playing, problem-solving, and responding to these experiences.|
Express themselves through the visual arts using skills such as cutting, drawing, gluing, sticking, painting, building, printing, sculpting, and sewing.
Listen to and respond to a variety of types of music, sing songs and make music using instruments.
Use language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences.
Respond to and create literacy experiences through story, poetry, song, and drama.
Show confidence in trying out new things, taking risks, and thinking creatively.
Exploring and Thinking:
|Children will learn about and make sense of the world around them.||Engage, explore and experiment in their environment and use new physical skills including skills to manipulate objects and materials.|
Demonstrate a growing understanding of themselves and others in their community.
Develop an understanding of change as part of their lives.
Develop a sense of time, shape, space, and place.
|2 Children will develop and use skills and strategies for observing, questioning, investigating, understanding, negotiating, and problem-solving, and come to see themselves as explorers and thinkers.||Recognise patterns and make connections and associations between new learning and what they already know.|
Gather and use information from different sources using their increasing cognitive, physical and social skills.
Demonstrate their ability to reason, negotiate and think logically.
|Children will explore ways to represent ideas, feelings, thoughts, objects, and actions through symbols||Become familiar with and associate symbols (pictures, numbers, letters, and words) with the things they represent. 3. Build awareness of the variety of symbols (pictures, print, numbers) used to communicate, and use these in an enjoyable and meaningful way leading to early reading and writing.|
Express feelings, thoughts and ideas through improvising, moving, playing, talking, writing, story-telling, music and art.
|Children will have positive attitudes towards learning and develop dispositions like curiosity, playfulness, perseverance, confidence, resourcefulness, and risk-taking.||Demonstrate growing confidence in being able to do things for themselves.|
Feel confident that their ideas, thoughts and questions will be listened to and taken seriously.
Act on their curiosity, take risks and be open to new ideas and uncertainty.
“My son is four and a half and started learning French with Nathalie Saive from aged three and a half. He can now count to 10 in French as easily as English, can name off colours again like as good as English and has the greetings such as ‘Bonjour’ ‘ Merci’ ‘Au Revoir’ ‘Bon Appetit’ etc.
It has made him aware of other languages and we often use Irish words too in order for him to grasp lots of different languages and enhance his memory. Learning French has opened my eyes to a young child and the ability to grasp a new language quickly. Having learnt two languages plus Irish myself from secondary school I found it took time to really understand and be able to grasp and also not easy to do as on a curriculum and preparing for exams. It wasn’t about enjoying and having fun. My son has no issue picking up words and retains this knowledge even when this is left redundant and not practised regularly.
He learns in preschool for 30 mins each week and then I as the parent will listen to the CD with him and practises his words. He really looks forward to the class with Nathalie as she has made it engaging and fun. They learn through games, songs and arts and crafts.
The syllabus (La Jolie Ronde) she follows is very good and parents can learn easily too. I hadn’t learnt French and now I too am learning.
Nathalie is a great teacher with an added benefit of having childcare qualifications so understands children and is able to deal with them all and get them engaged. She is also French which to me brings authenticity to the learning and she can pronounce words correctly and therefore teaches children the same. My child at four and a half has corrected me with words that I have mispronounced.
I cannot recommend learning a language enough especially from preschool age where they learn very easily and retain. This also enriches their cultural knowledge and gives them a better understanding in this diverse society we live in.”