FLEA BITES: The Les Puces method

Les Puces – What makes us different?

Here, we explore Les Puces method of learning and how it sets us apart making us the French language school of choice in the south east of England. Founded by Mandie Davis, the mother of trilingual and bilingual daughters, Les Puces makes learning French fun by using music, dance, listening to stories, making things and doing worksheets.

The four parts of the class utilise the four main ways of learning:

  • By Rote - learning by repetition

  • Rhyme and Music - learning through songs

  • Make It Project - putting the language into practise

  • Storytelling - learning by hearing a story repeated

There's nothing amazing about this so far though! In fact, it would be difficult to teach without using these accepted methods.

Whilst teaching English to French children, Mandie saw that although we all learn in the same way, a child may be stronger in one method and find that part of the class easiest to comprehend. Take for example a class where the children listen to a story ... say "Cinderella", and then sing the song "Somewhere over the rainbow". The child who learns best through singing would pick up the rainbow vocabulary but the story may be completely lost on him/her. This is where the Les Puces method comes into play - because we make everything in house, we expand these learning methods so that we encompass each of them in the same subject or module.

Here's an example from our Charlie's Pizza half term:

So you can see that now the children are repeating the pizza vocabulary, singing about Charlie's Pizza, doing pizza worksheets, hearing the story and of course, making their pizza project to take home and continue the learning away from the class. A child that learns best through rhyme and song now has the same vocabulary reinforced through all of the other methods.

Every half term module introduces a new theme with a book, song and Make It Project with all the artwork and colours being vibrant and consistent across the module. All modules are constructed according to government guidance of KS2 languages.

It doesn't stop there. Using our trademarked 'Translation in head method' we make sure that the children understand what is being read to them, by providing them with a beautiful bilingual book on the first lesson of each half term. By reading the story at home in English, the children understand the pattern of the story and know what to expect - regardless of what language it's in. Now they can listen along and pick out repetitive words when they hear it read in French in class.

Children build their own bilingual library over the months, with books that will be useful to them right up to GCSEs .... and even beyond!

Use your ears!

We are very conscious that the child's ear changes around the age of 8. Mandie witnessed children pronouncing the 'z' on the end of 'le nez' even when the teacher was saying the word correctly. She realised that what the eye sees takes precedence over what is being heard. Especially at a time when young children are so interested in phonics and studying them throughout the day in their first language. Therefore, no words are seen when teachers use our learning aids for colours, shapes, animals etc. The children look at the cards and see the numbers 1,2,3 and 4 or the colours red, yellow, green and blue for example and then repeat the words, without being hindered by the written word (until they are in the final years of primary school).

Free materials for parents online:

We all know that just one hour a week is not going to make your child bilingual, but the more you can reinforce the learning at home, the better the results will be. To this end, we make the vocabulary sheets and lyric sheets for each half term freely available on our website. Our first albums are listed on Spotify, Amazon, AppleMusic etc and so can be streamed or downloaded at home - you don't have to come to classes to be able to learn from some of our materials! There's no sign-in or code access - please, help yourself!

There are actions to all of the songs, which are sung in class and we encourage the children to listen at home. The songs cover key parts of the language such as colours and body parts, and there is also a song for each term.

The Website:

The website is continually changing and being updated and so it’s always worth a visit. At the moment the house and garden are being overrun by safari animals!

There is no time to be bored and with the four distinct sections in our lessons and with so much variety, time passes quickly. It enables the children to move around and be creative too. Parents are always welcome to join in, (this is imperative if they have young children). Above all, it’s a lot of fun and often quite loud!

What To Do Next

To book your child onto a class, please email bonjour@lespuces.co.uk, visit our website or call Les Puces on 01892 457135 and if you are interested in running your own business, you may want to find out more about our franchise opportunities.

For schools:

We offer on curriculum classes, PPA cover and after school classes which are very popular. Contact Mandie on mandie@lespuces.co.uk to discuss the possibility of using our method in your primary school.

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