The first day of school can be tough, and even more so with a new language to learn. Here’s how to start off this “back-to-school” Season on the right foot:
1. Make learning fun.
If kids associate learning a new language with having fun, they’ll enjoy it. Choose activities that your kids like and encourage your child to speak French, even if it’s just a few words.
2. Sneak French into their daily routine.
Ask what day of the week it is and encourage your child to answer in French. Try labelling everyday objects, stick a post-it on the fridge, on the oven and other kitchen item. Then every time you and your child are in the kitchen, you’ll begin to memorize everything around you.
3. Say it out loud.
Always encourage your child to speak out loud so you can hear their pronunciation. Another great way to learn French is to sing French songs. Check out Charlotte Diamond, Jacquot or Suzanne Pinel on YouTube for some simple and catchy tunes about food, animals and the seasons.
4. Try taking a few classes.
Try taking a few classes or attending a few tutor sessions to improve your own French. Be sure to keep a French dictionary and a French-English dictionary at home in case your child asks what something means and you don’t know.
5. Let them watch TV.
Kids love watching TV, so why not try watching some French cartoons? Check with your TV service provider to find out what French Television is available in your area (Unis TV, TVA, TV5). There’s a French version of Dora The Explorer(Dora L’exploratrice) or you could try to find the French version of one of your child’s favourites.
6. Talk about it.
The simplest thing you can do to support your child is by having a positive, open-minded attitude. It is normal to be apprehensive before school starts or during the first several weeks.
7. Back away from homework and encourage autonomy.
Homework is designed to reinforce what is learned in class. Your child will learn by making mistakes. Also, imperfect grade guides the teacher to the areas where more instruction is needed.
Beginning in the tween years, children should be allowed to attempt to solve problems with teachers, peers or alone first.
8. Focus on your child’s strengths.
Not every child will achieve academically. Set reasonable expectations that are consistent with your child’s natural abilities.
9. Keep close connections with the school and the teachers.
Taking even a few hours off to volunteer can give you some real insight into the school and your child. If time is a real issue, and you can’t make it to your school’s events, be sure to attend parent-teacher nights.
10. Free online homework helps.