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Pupils enjoy a merveilleuse week of languages!

Published Thursday 4th of October 2018 02:37:55 PM

At a time when A-Level Languages are ‘clinging on by their fingertips’ due to budget constraints (The Independent, 15.08.18), it is more important than ever to begin fostering a love of languages at primary level. Learning languages is hugely beneficial to children, and not solely for the purposes of being able to communicate in a foreign language. Languages Week at The Blue Coat School brought with it the opportunity to have many discussions about other cultures and countries. The children enjoyed a European Flag hunt around the playground, taking the morning register in other languages, sampling different cuisines at lunchtime and much more! BCS Languages Week touched not only timetabled lessons, but was evident in all parts of the school community for the week. Year 6 enjoyed visiting Pre-Prep to read them a story in French and to teach them how to say ‘My name is’ (Je m’appelle) and ‘Bonjour’ (Hello). The Year 6 classes learnt a lot about how to teach to younger children, and the Pre-Prep children were delighted to have Year 6 as their teachers for a while. On Tuesday we held the first of our BCS Experience Days for local schools and welcomed twenty Year 5 children from Chad Vale Primary to become Language Detectives for the day. They spent the morning practising and exploring the skills that they would need, so that in the afternoon they could intercept messages to stop a crime from taking place using several different European languages. The week continued with a group of Year 5 children visiting Solihull School for a Languages Morning coinciding with The European Day of Languages. Several other schools participated and each was given a different language. Ours was Japanese. We confessed that beyond sushi and Pokémon our knowledge was limited! That soon changed as we swiftly learned about the three different Japanese alphabets, discovered that the Japanese write from top to bottom (not left to right as we do) and found out that various English sounds don't exist in Japanese! Year 4 welcomed Louis, a French speaker from Cameroon, to demonstrate in his own native language how to ‘danser comme les africains’. The children painted their faces and wore traditional dress, and had lots of fun mastering the art of African dance. Meanwhile, Year 3 participated in ‘Les trois petits cochons’ a French Storytelling Workshop, with Mr Nicklin making a guest appearance as Le Grand Méchant Loup (The Big Bad Wolf) much to the children’s delight. And so, a busy week came to an end with Head of French, Mrs Newman, barely knowing whether to greet people in Gaelic, German, French or Italian!
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