This week has passed by in a blur of different languages – I have barely known whether to greet people in Gaelic, German, French or Italian – indeed what a merveilleuse week it has been! It kicked off with Year 6 visiting Pre-Prep on Monday, 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 opened up The Hub to a group of twenty Year 5 children from Chad Vale Primary School for our first BCS Experience Day. The children from Chad Vale were invited to be Language Detectives for the day, and 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. The children were using several different European languages to undertake these tasks, and the focus of the day was on language learning skills.
The week continued with a group of Year 5 children visiting Solihull School for a Languages Morning on Wednesday. The day coincided with The European Day of Languages which is celebrated nationally on the 26th of September each year. Several other schools participated and each was given a different language. Ours was Japanese. We confessed that beyond sushi and Pokemon 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! We had a go at writing our names in Japanese, then tackled the art of calligraphy!
We learned how to say hello and my name is…. We also enjoyed some delicious Japanese snacks and finally we tried on some Happi coats. All in all, we had a fantastic morning and we left very happi… sorry happy.
Wednesday also saw Year 4 participating in a French African Dance Workshop. Year 4 have recently been learning about Francophone countries around the world and we were delighted to welcome Louis, a French speaker from Cameroon, to demonstrate in his own native language how to ‘danser comme les africains’.
Languages Week has touched not only timetabled lessons, but it has been a part of the school community for the week. Children have enjoyed taking part in the ‘European Flag Hunt’, both in Prep and in Pre-Prep (currently there are more than 100 entries for the competition), and there has been much discussion over lunch about the different food enjoyed in our neighbouring countries as we have enjoyed a themed menu across the week. Teachers have been doing the registers in different languages, and many of the children who speak a different language other than English have been able to teach their teachers and classmates some phrases!
As I write this, (on Thursday evening) we are still looking forward to a Year 3 French Storytelling Workshop on Friday afternoon, which will appear some guest appearances from the staff as Le Grand Méchant Loup(The Big Bad Wolf).
All in all it has been a rich, diverse, and rewarding week and many thanks to all the staff and children for their enthusiasm.
Thank you, Mrs Newman, for all your hard work in putting together such a memorable and enjoyable week!