How To Create a French Action Plan
Creating a French Action Plan
Last year I spent a relaxing week in Bali with my husband. We were so excited to go and take some time off and decided during the week to explore Seminyak so we’d hired a car and were planning to drive to the beach as it was only a short distance from our hotel. It seemed simple enough. There was only one small flaw in our perfect plan. After driving what seemed to be in circles for over 30 minutes we realised that we really didn't know HOW to get there. We needed a map. As we hilariously learnt (and really should have already known), reaching your destination is always a million times harder when you don’t know where you’re going.
The same applies to teaching your child a second language! You already have a goal, for your child to fluently speak French. This is a really great start. However, one of the most important things you need is a plan to help you get there.
Starting on a language learning journey can often seem daunting, especially when you don’t speak French yourself, but it doesn’t need to be. With just a few simple steps, you’ll have all the tools you need to create an environment that fosters bilingualism and helps your child fall in love with learning French.
YOUR FRENCH ACTION PLAN
1. Maximise your child’s exposure to French at home:
It goes without saying that the more exposure a child has to a language, the more chance they will pick it up with greater ease. What happens, however, if you DON'T speak French? Well, believe it or not, you still have the ability to introduce the foundations of the language at home, and there are many ways to do it.
Thanks to the internet, these days there are a huge number of resources specifically focused on teaching little kids French. Here are a few ideas:
- Take advantage of technology (online language games, Wikipedia, and video games). These are not only portable, but online games and short language videos (like inside our membership) are great tools to teach and reinforce vocabulary.
- Watch movies and listen to music in French. Make sure you check out Netflix's fantastic range of kids' movies in French.
- Don’t neglect reading. Books are an important resource for teaching vocabulary and sentence structure. Don't worry if your pronunciation isn't perfect; what's most important is that you're doing it.
2. Make the most of the people around you:
- Check out the resources in your local library; they often have books and video series, and if you're lucky, a local French playgroup for your little one.
- If your extended family speaks French, request that they speak to your child only in French.
- Hire a babysitter who speaks French. It also incentivizes you to go out and have fun, knowing that your little one is also moving forward in their language activities.
3. Find external support:
- Research local language groups that meet on the weekend. Your local French playgroup is a fantastic way for your child to not only meet other kids who speak French but also connect with families who share the same core value. They may lead to great friendships as your child grows too.
- Invest in a tutor if your child learns best in one-on-one contexts. This is helpful as your child grows; however, make sure that when your child is young, they spend most of their language learning engaging in play. Kids learn best when they're having fun, so if you can play the long game and keep the lessons engaging, you'll raise kids who will love the language over a lifetime.
- Encourage them to learn French at school if this is an option.
4. Customise your bilingual action plan:
There's a lot to be said for taking the time to sit down and write out a plan that's going to work for your family.
I would encourage you to look at a number of the different activities that we've listed above and find ways to engage with them with your child across the space of the week. We've even created a cute little printable that you can write on and put on your fridge as a reminder of all that's ahead.
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