11.17.2009

a little français


Since September I've been speaking French to my girls. For some strange (and happy) reason, the girls love it. Their favorite and first learned words have been, not surprisingly, potty-talk words. We also pray in French before every meal and all the kids are now able to do this. I think it's the repetition that's important.

As a reward, my kids occasionally get to watch Pere Castor cartoons. I love watching them too. They are sweet, and old-fashioned-ish. I'm super picky about what cartoons I'll allow them to watch. (Don't you think most of the modern cartoons are way too sassy for kids?) Pere Castor stories and simple, beautifully written and illustrated. You can also find books to match. I bought them from Amazon France . Is there any one else out there in blogworld who is teaching a foreign language to their kids? Any more ideas or suggestions?

35 comments:

frogginette said...

Oh how fun! I'm French -- don't have kids yet but I'd love to share a few things I used to love as a little girl.
Here are a few links so some of my favorite characters (you can then find the corresponding books/dvds on amazon france).
for young children:

http://www.mimicracra.com/

http://www.petitoursbrun.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Histoire-Babar-Petit-Elephant-French/dp/0686541294/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258473411&sr=1-11

http://www.barbapapa.fr/gb/barbapapa.html

for slightly older kids:

http://www.amazon.com/Petit-Nicolas-French-Sempe-Goscinny/dp/2070364232

http://www.amazon.com/Petit-Prince-French-Language/dp/0156013983

icicle said...

My mother is from France, so I've been making an effort to introduce some of the language to my 3 year old daughter as well. Mostly, we read to her and sung songs in French -- to give her an "ear" for it -- and she seems to pick up the lyrics quite easily.
Also, we play a French "go fish" card game to help introduce words for numbers and colors, simple manners and phrases.
Good for you!

Kari said...

My husband brought home an entire library of full sized 'Les Aventures de Tin Tin.' We also love 'Les 3000 Mots en Francais', a great detailed illustrated dictionary book that almost reminds me of a Richard Scarry word book. They all know 'I am a Child of God' in French too;)

kirsten said...

what great ideas!
Our daughter (9) has been teaching herself french for a couple of years. She's done Rosetta stone (meh) and Mango Languages (way better) for free through our library website. Now her favorite way is My French Coach on her Nintendo ds. Surprisingly effective and fun.

My husband just started reading a Tintin book to the boys that he loved as a kid - maybe we'll have to pick up the French one...

Em said...

i speak only swedish to my little one and i think the key is immersion. that way it's not like they're "learning" a language, it just is always there and they pick it up without problems. i only ever speak swedish and my husband only speaks english so our little one gets exposed to both. it's very beneficial based on all the studies i've read. so, great job mama!

Worknprogress said...

How lovely!! Thank you for the info on the charming cartoons. I completely agree with you about American cartoons today. My daughter watches Curious George and that is about it for cartoons these days. She says she'll be watching CG even when she is 21.

We've being learning a little more Spanish recently, as she is in a religious ed class at our church geared toward both the english and spanish speaking communities. However, since she was a baby, i've been speaking and teaching her the little bit of German i know. She's known the German colours, abc's/123's, and some songs since she was 2.

Soon, we'll be starting Latin with her. That will be a family learning endeavour.

Good on you for teaching your children another language at such an early age! We need more Americans to think that way!!

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

I was a French minor in college and my husband's dad is from Germany, so we would like our children to be familiar with both languages. We read a few books in French for night-time and I used to watch (then translate, lol) Asterix &Obelix!
Sarah M

Victoria said...

We are learning spanish(us bourne books and sign language(signing time videos). My daughter really took to the spanish and my son to signing. It has been fun to watch their little minds grow with all that they are learning. We are very picky about what they watch also. Little Bear, Franklin, Curious George are big for my kids. They will choose them over disney/nick jr any day.

Odelsa said...

Music!
It's fun and I feel it helps getting them exposed to the new language!

liz said...

my BIL served a spanish speaking mission. he ONLY speaks to them in spanish (his wife only speaks english, so they get both). his girls can totally understand although i rarely ever hear them respond back to him in spanish. my kids are totally confused when uncle ryan talks to them. he forgets that they don't understand...

Lauren said...

This is so sweet. Really the best way to learn a language is to live there. My kids picked up so much German this summer while we were abroad. The amazing thing is how they pick up on the accent, the videos are probably really helpful with that.

myimaginaryblog said...

This is so impressive. I have a friend who's a German professor who's done this with his kids (his wife speaks English with them) and I have another friend who's Austrian and always speaks German with her kids. The truth is that even if I felt like my French were strong enough, I love my mother tongue of English too much not to use it as my "mother tongue" with my kids--but I always forget that I could still do lots more to expose them to French even if I'm not willing to speak it with them all the time. I should look at the resources in the comments. I think the Nintendo one would be a hit with my oldest two kids.

twirlingbetty said...

Wonderful to start early with your kids. I agree with Em that immersion is best (good incentive to plan 6 weeks in France!) but, failing that, making it fun and not a chore. For example, my 4 year old takes an avid interest in the Italian words for sweets and pastries if they right before her in a shop window! Also, a gorgeous bilingual French/English site is www.boowakwala.com. Run by an English fellow and his French wife in Mauritius. Tres exotique, non?!

Marina said...

We have both French and Italian parentage in our family. Although we've been a little undisciplined with teaching our two girls both languages, they do get a hotch-potch of instruction from grandparents, us, school, books, etc.

One thing that does stand out as their favourite is singing along with French and Italian songs from CDs.

Prue said...

We're about to go to Germany for six weeks, so I'm hoping my almost 6 year old will pick up lots of German - mainly because I don't speak it and I'm hoping for his help with what the shop assistant says to me in the shop! He loves learning Italian at school, and his dad is good at languages, so hopefully there's an aptitude there that I don't have!

jojo-caramel said...

J'aime bien les histoires du Père Castor, moi aussi :)

itzibitzispider said...

Studies say, that if you are not of that language you should not speak in another language as your "mothers" to your kid, as you may or may not tach your kids wrong pronounciation or words ;)

Well, as for that I wanted to speak english to my kids, as I am better in speaking than in writing, but my husband and I agreed, that hee speaks luxembourgish and I German with the kids.
Every now and than our kids watch dvds (I like to have the control on WHAT they watch), so they watch them 2-3 times in german, than the next time in english and after that again in German.

In Luxembourg from 2. grade on (age +/- 7years) the kids start to learn french in school and later another language.

Kids learn other languages like a game, but it is essential that the person who speaks to the kids in another language keeps on doing it all the time, so no switching between the languages ... or so they say!

LG
Simone

Renae said...

Our kids attend a Spanish Immersion school which makes me so happy. I served as a missionary in Argentina for some time and so wanted to speak to my kids in Spanish, but as my husband doesn't speak Spanish it does make that goal difficult. Thank goodness for the immersion school. The kids love it and it makes me happy to know they'll have 2 languages.

Our oldest thinks she wants to add French once she hits HS next year. We'll see how that goes.

Estelle said...

Our daughter just started french school this year, so I am constantly on the hunt for good french dvds, music and books that are age appropriate. She is 4. Do you have any other recommendations for french cartoons/dvds?

Sarah said...

Both our kids were born in France and when we moved back to the states last year we tried to keep up the language immersion. It is really hard, but I try and use French everyday, even if it is just little words or little phrases. My daughter loves the "L'imagerie des tout-petits" series by Fleures. I got them at the grocery store in France, but they are everywhere. There are three levels, baby, toddler, and older child. We have the entire toddler series. There is so much to look at in the pictures. Both my children will pick these up and just look at the pictures. I still read them to them in French. We also have cartoons in French that they watch - T'choupi and Barbapapa are two favorites.

Bon Courgage!
Sarah

lynne said...

Melissa, you are awesome!! I wish I knew enough french to teach my kids more that "ou est la tour eiffel?"

emily said...

our oldest daughter started kindergarten this year in a french immersion program. this dvd would be so great for her . . . bookmarking for a christmas idea!! thanks!

Cafe Aroma said...

Yes certainly, I agree with you. I don't like new cartoons. I missed my childhood cartoons.

Christy said...

I would love to start my kids early on another language. But how do you decide which one?

eBirdie said...

My daughter attends an immersion program for children called Language Stars. She loves it! We also really love this Traditional French Songs CD:

http://www.ilcoccodimamma.com/shop/books-CDs/l17.html

janay said...

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Rocio said...

That is great!! Being able to speak more than one language is wonderful!!
I have been talking to my daughter in English ever since she was born, although it is not my mother tongue. The hardest part for me is sticking to it at all times, when everything around us is Spanish. She watches cartoons in English and we read books in English too, but it is difficult to keep up. She understands everything but she won't reply in English....although when she is forced to, like when friends from overseas visit, she does make the effort!!!

I will keep on trying, and hopefully in a few years - she is only 3 now - we can try a little immersion in an English speaking country.

I see it as the greatest gift I can give her...another window to look into the world.

Best of luck!!

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Tricia said...

Good for you! You've inspired me to get my act together. My husband and I both speak Spanish AND we homeschool, but we've hardly done any Spanish with the kids. Shame on us! As always, thanks for the inspiration!

Stephanie said...

I haven't started yet but a visit from some friends last week has prompted me to seriously consider how to work French into our daily lives. Today was my last day at work so now's the time to focus! I think I'll start with Pere Castor.

Stephanie said...

PS I think in Quebec the old standard is Passe Partout.

Marlo said...

I am glad to find all these great cartoons and books to use. My daughter was born in Paris and as we someday hope to return to Paris, we try to teach her some French. She really likes the DVD Bonjour Les Amis, but I think they are boring. We both love Baby's First Steps in French, a CD that has 50 tracks of songs and rhymes in French. Many of the tracks are children that are native speakers. We also like Barbepapa and the L'imagerie books. Also, you can find French books, etc on Amazon Canada and the shipping might be cheaper than from France. Next, I want to join a playgroup with some Québécois in our town. Good luck and thanks for the resources.

Stephanie said...

My husband has read the Harry Potter series in Italian to our 8&10 year old girls. Since they have read them in English a number of times and their Italian is pretty good the HP has been a big hit. Rosetta stone Italian (christmas gift) has also been a huge hit for ages 10-4. We will have to try the Mango languages program.

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