It is now compulsory for all children in key stage 2 and above to receive regular Modern Foreign Languages lessons. At Rathfern, we offer lessons to all children from Reception to Year 6, covering both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, as we believe second language acquisition should start as early as possible.
As a school, we also encourage children to speak their native languages at home and support parents to do so. Second language acquisition empowers children with the development of neural pathways that would otherwise remain dormant, and all linguistic input plays a critical role in this development.
Our chosen language is French. Our aim is to provide the children with access to the language structures of French, as well as a meta-cognitive appreciation of language; learning how to learn a language. This includes developing an overall sense of grammatical structures and comparing them across languages.
Key benefits of learning foreign languages for children at primary school include:
- Understanding and appreciation of their own language(s)
- Knowledge about language in general
- Development of cognitive problem-solving skills involved in the decoding and acquisition of language
- Understanding of their place in the world as a global citizen
- Appreciation of social diversity and intercultural understanding
Lessons are delivered by a subject specialist once a week.
Our aim is to become a truly bilingual school, and as such we try to embed the language skills learned in the weekly lessons throughout school life. This includes performing French role plays in class assemblies and learning French songs for the Christmas and summer concerts, as well as in singing assemblies throughout the year.
The core topics that are covered by every year group include:
- About me (greetings, introducing yourself)
- Parts of the body
- Classroom Language
The above core language sets the foundation for other topics that are covered in key stage 2. This includes:
- The calendar
- Telling the time
- Weather and seasons
- Sports and hobbies
- Food and drink
- Describing myself and others
- Countries and nationalities
In addition, some lessons will be based around developing inter-cultural awareness and an understanding of the social, cultural and historical context of the French language.