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French at three in Paisley

Three-year-olds in Paisley will soon be ordering their own pains au chocolat for breakfast, thanks to a radical initiative that is stealing a march on state schools.

Nursery Times, a private nursery, is offering total immersion in French for three to five-year-olds from September, for three hours a day, five days a week. Classes will take place in a special French room where infants will be taught by a native speaker whose own children are bilingual, and a qualified primary teacher fluent in the language.

"We will be able to take 12 children in the morning and 12 in the afternoon," Miriam McMillan, the proprietor, says. "Some parents were interested in one or two mornings a week, but it must be every day to do it properly. When children leave for primary, it may be years before they can continue. We will run classes at the weekends to help them keep it up."

The project pre-empts a scheme in Aberdeen, where the city has agreed to pilot teaching in two primary schools through French and German if Scottish Office funding is forthcoming.

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