Pre-Prep to Elements
In the early stages of language learning at St Mary’s Hall, pupils are taught how to use and respond to French; and how to listen carefully in order to discriminate sounds, identify meaning and develop auditory awareness. They begin to develop an awareness of the correct pronunciation and intonation and learn how to ask and answer questions. They are shown techniques for memorising words, phrases and short extracts and learn how to use context and clues to interpret meaning, using their existing knowledge of English when learning.
In line with our whole-school global outlook, pupils also learn about France as a country, and the French culture. They use a variety of methods for this, including participating in French cookery, using the language specific multi-media whiteboard programmes in class, considering their own culture and comparing it with others and considering the experiences of other people, including other pupils in the school. We are very lucky to have a French national, Stephanie Grix, as our French language teacher.
By the time they are ready to progress to Key Stage three, the pupils will have developed an understanding of the interrelationship of sounds and writing, simple aspects of grammar and how to apply them. They will know how to initiate conversations, how to use dictionaries and other reference materials, how to communicate with each other in the foreign language in pairs and groups, and with their teacher. They should also be able to use the language creatively and imaginatively, and for real purposes, which stands them in good stead for cultural experiences such as school trips abroad.