I have just been writing my section for the newsletters for The Marina and Lincoln College nurseries and was really pleased to see that each of the Managers had asked their pre-school French teacher to write a paragraph about what they did within the nurseries. We have had visiting French teachers at many of the nurseries for several years now and have found that it has been a really successful activity. Unfortunately, at some of our locations we have been unable to find local teachers willing to come into the nurseries but it is something we are always on the look out for. I am most familiar with one of the companies whom we use, La Jolie Ronde, as both my children attended the classes and are still singing some of the songs, 5 years on!
The concept of introducing new languages to young children is great fun, as they accept the different vocabulary without question and most pick up the basics very quickly. We do not do any written work with the pre-schoolers, so it is all about what they hear and what they can repeat, with a lot of emphasis on songs and rhymes. We try and carry this through into other parts of the nursery day, so other opportunities for counting may be in French rather than English. It also allows staff to plan complementary activities, such as a French meal, or setting up the home corner as a French restaurant.
At the moment our language teaching is limited to the pre-school age group, starting with 3 year olds, but we are also researching baby signing. There have been many different programmes developed over recent years and I know that some of our parents use signing at home. Is this something that you would consider to be a real benefit at nursery, or are there any initiatives that you would see as being more useful? It is always useful to hear your thoughts on what you would like to see.