FLEA BITES: Learning French - a mother's perspective.

Learning French at Les Puces – A Mother’s Perspective

Jackie Welman lives in Worthing in West Sussex with her partner, Kevin and their 2 girls, Charlotte aged 4 and Isabella aged 7 and their dog Bonnie. Their home is near to the seafront and the family loves nothing better than strolling along the promenade together with their 4-legged friend.

Jackie has always lived in Worthing and just loves it. She has been working as an Ambulance Technician for the last 12 years. She has always been interested in languages and wanted the girls to learn a second language and knew it would assist their learning if they started at a young age.

How did you hear about Les Puces?

I was trawling the Internet to find a local class and was delighted when I came across Les Puces, a French language learning school for children with classes in Worthing. I enrolled the girls straightaway and was pleased to know that they encouraged parents to go along as well. I really do think it’s so important for children to learn another language.

Tell us a little more about French in your family

The girls didn’t know any French before they started but were keen to learn. I had learned at school to GSE level but that was quite a while ago.

How have the classes benefitted them?

They started to pick the language up immediately and I think that was because of the excellent structure of the class and the teacher. The class lasts for an hour and there is 1 a week during term time. It’s basically divided into 4 parts, which involves learning by repetition, songs, practising by making a project and storytelling. There really is no time for the girls to get bored, particularly for Isabella whose concentration and attention can easily wander.

Incidentally, my girls are very different. Charlotte is actually quite studious and she just loves school, which she started in September. She seems to relish doing her homework and is so keen to learn French. Isabella is a real daredevil and quite independent and things have to be engaging to keep her interest, and so well done to Les Puces as she always comes back really excited!

I understand that there are mixed ages in the classes – how does that work?

The class actually has children of different ages with Isabella being one of the oldest, but this has not affected them at all and personally I enjoy seeing how children of different ages interact with each other. It’s incredible how they focus on what they are doing.

Are there any particular aspects of the classes that they enjoy?

They love making the projects. One was about the weather, which involved a shoebox, which was covered with impressions of the different weather types. The clouds were made of cotton wool and the scene featured birds. It really helped the girls to learn the various weather terms in French. They also had a paper cut out of a human body which had the various body parts labelled.

The girls love the songs and we sing them at home and we often refer to the books that accompany the various term themes. In fact we are collecting quite a library of books and so I have quite a few to choose from now.

Have you been to France?

Yes, we recently went to Boulogne for the day, which we thought would be great for the girls so that they could listen to the language and see something of the French culture. They were really excited that they could order their chocolate ice creams in French. In the restaurant, the girls were able to recognise some of the words and of course were able to try French food. We had snails and Isabella, who is always up for a challenge, did try one! We enjoyed our little taste of France and next time we would like to go for longer.

What do you like to do as a family?

We love to travel and have travelled a lot through Europe including Spain, Portugal and France. We’ve also been to Australia and Dubai. Every year we go skiing to Bulgaria and in fact Isabella has been quite inspired by the group skiing class that she has gone to as all the children speak 2 languages and she wanted to be like them – I think it has inspired her and given her more motivation to learn French!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes! Les Puces provides so much information on their website to back up the lessons and a lot of it can be downloaded and printed. I have also found the teachers to be of an excellent standard. I’m looking forward to the girls continuing their French, which they clearly just love.

Thank you Jackie for the interview.

To find out about Les Puces classes near you, or running your own Les Puces franchise business, contact Mandie on mandie@lespuces.co.uk

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