Primary School integration

Children Integration :

Primary school

Please note that I do not teach children under 6 (they normally don’t need language tuition to be honest !). Up to  6, in my opinion,  they learn more from  contacts with French children of their age than from any teacher.

However, for those who arrive at the age of 6 ore more, things are very different. When they are 6, children learn to read and write in French, and the situation is really more complex for a child who is just discovering a new language : a 6 year old child who arrives in France  does need the help of a teacher.

My methods :

I concentrate  on two things : developing quickly the French language AND  integration in a French school, which involves many other things.

Regarding French language

Considering the age of the child, his personality, his tastes,  his school level , and the preferences of his parents, I use  a mixture of three things :

1 – A French language method for children : I use language books and CD Roms designed for foreign children aged from 6 to 12.

2 –  Immersion activities : generally creative activities if the child likes them, in order to stimulate the communication in the most natural way. While we are making something together we speak French. I introduce some vocabulary and structures. When the work is finished the child is happy to have created something, and then we write down what we’ve done : we make « books » together, sometimes a bilingual one to help,  and I find this method to be the best one to encourage children to express themselves  in a new language. These books are  also a good way for children to show their parents what we do together, and what they have learned in French. This also provides a great opportunity for parents to encourage their child’s efforts in using the new language.

3 – School support : I help with homework when necessary. Quite often, during his first year in France the child cannot really understand the instructions, or the texts to read. Individual  help is often welcome and I’m pleased to do it when necessary.

But the  most interesting part of the help I can provide is that I often   »re-create » the exercises given at school in an easier way, generally with simpler vocabulary. This helps the child to get week by week more understanding of the subjects and more confidence at school and with the language. Otherwise the child may feel « lost » for quite a long time and can’t learn a lot from the exercises given at school.

example :

CM1 « Le guépard téméraire bondit à travers les buissons ardents ». Instructions : Souligne le verbe en rouge et le sujet en vert. Entoure en bleu l’adjectif qualificatif.

A child recently arrived in French won’t understand completely the sentence, consequently he or she will not get the grammar points which are the purpose of the exercise.

A simpler sentence like  » Le petit chat saute dans les branches en feu » will allow the child to understand the construction of the sentence, the role and place of the verb, the subject and of the adjective. This way, he or she will learn these notions without losing  precious time.

Regarding the process of integration in a French school :

There are many things to which the child  - and his parents ! – must adapt :  different handwriting styles, strange characters added to an alphabet which otherwise seems the same (accents, cedilla, trem …), the metric system, different ways to write the maths operations, different attitudes and expectations from the teachers, different pedagogy…

Experience shows that, starting at 8, it is relevant to focus on this school adaptation as well as on the French language.

+ parental support ! And to finish, I  help the parents to communicate with school and to understand the « French System » which  sometimes seems so different from the one they are used to !

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