“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”
- Frank Smith
Second-language acquisition and children
Learning another language is an exciting experience for children. While they have fun discovering new and unique ways of expressing themselves, they also exercise and strengthen their brains. Learning another language can:
Stimulate brain development
Learning another language helps develop essential areas of children’s brains; it helps them to think more creatively, connect ideas and solve problems more easily.
Significantly enhance English literacy skills.
When learning another language children automatically compare and contrast the system of the new language they are learning with English; giving them an insight to how English works and accelerating their ability to read and write.
Improve memory, concentration and numeracy skills.
Learning another language strengthens children’s memory for sequences and ability to concentrate while building connections; improving overall performance at school.
Encourage respect and understanding of other cultures.
Learning another language sparks children’s curiosity for other cultures. It opens their minds to different ways of living and promotes harmony and respect. Learning another language is crucial to preparing children for their increasingly globalised future.
French at MSPS
The French program at MSPS runs from Prep to Year 6. All classes currently receive 50 minutes of French per week.
The key focus at Montmorency South PS is for the students to become active users of the language; to create a communicative climate focused on meaning, within which language acquisition can take place naturally. To achieve this, learning is developed through contexts that carry significance for the students; such as storytelling, music, games, social and cultural focuses, classroom rituals and celebrations.
French at MSPS also incorporates AIM Language Learning methodologies; including:
Almost every word students learn is accompanied by a hand gesture which ensures that communication is kinaesthetically and visually represented whilst simultaneously being produced through speech. The gestures support students to produce the language constantly throughout each lesson.
“Pared-Down” Language (PDL)
Targeted vocabulary is selected according to frequency of use, function and ease of acquisition. With first language learning the word ‘hot’ is introduced, and understood in context by a child, prior to more specific language (i.e. warm, boiling, balmy or blistering) being introduced. PDL also places a high emphasis on oral use of verbs for communication, however it does not focus explicitly on the conjugation of verbs (i.e. I say, he says, we say) and the varying tenses (i.e. I say, I said, I will say, I would say, I was saying, etc.). PDL presents vocabulary in a way that parallels first language learning so each part of a verb is learnt as the need arises, in context.
“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” - Flora Lewis
MSPS French website: www.hbridge.wix.com/frenchmsps
AIM Language Learning: http://www.aimlanguagelearning.com