Sing it in French

26th September 2003 at 01:00
Ninety key stage 1 children took part in an end-of-year production with a difference - they all spoke in French. I wrote and composed the story, based on the tale of The Enormous Turnip, with my son, who is head of French at a nearby secondary school. The children spoke and sang in French with amazing confidence.

We began by teaching the songs in music lessons and then added the narration parts with the support of Year 2 teacher Carmel Hadfield, who has a degree in French. Year 1 teacher Suzanne Decent was the choreographer and stage manager. Later, we translated the songs into English to ensure the children understood what they were singing. In the show we sang each song in French first then followed it with the English version.

There were three performances of "La Plus Grande Carotte", all in costume, one to the rest of the school and afternoon and evening performances to parents. Everyone who saw the musical was amazed that children so young could speak and sing in French with such expertise. The children were proud of what they had achieved and could be heard singing in French as they skipped down the road. It just goes to show that you can teach a modern language to children of this age.

Geraldine Byrne, formerly KS1 manager and reception class teacher, St Joseph's Catholic School, Bromley, Kent

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