If you teach or work with preschoolers, you know that a good French curriculum for preschool children will have to be hands-on, engaging, and colorful. Since many want to begin teaching languages early, there is no shortage of excellent resources to teach French to preschool aged children. Whether you are a parent or a teacher, you'll find a variety of sources to suit your needs.
French Curriculum for Preschool Children
The best way to teach French at an early age is to teach French in context to what the child already knows. There are several curriculums out there that do this:
Muzzy is geared towards the home learning environment. Muzzy is actually the name of the cartoon character that teaches the child the languages. Muzzy language courses, (French is one choice of many) are engaging and present information through a variety of medias.
Professor Toto like Muzzy, is a cartoon character that engages and speaks to children. One of the benefits of Professor Toto is that he speaks slowly enough for adults to catch on rather easily. The bulk of the instruction is done during an engaging cartoon and the entire package comes with translations for the parent. There's also a coloring book that goes along with the cartoon.
Flip Flop French is engaging, and economical. It consists of an audio CD and activities that you can do together with your child.
Preschool Curriculum Activities with French Words
If you're not interested in buying an entire curriculum but rather just want to sprinkle your day with a little French here and there, resources can generally be found at the teacher supply store.
If your students already know some French, Simon Says is a great way to reinforce skills. If you're practicing body parts for example, "Simon" can command students to touch their nez, tête or mains!
Bilingual Word Walls
While it will be a few years before most preschoolers will even show an interest in reading, most preschool classrooms are still labeled to help promote a literate environment. Consider also, labeling a few things bilingually so that students also see French words.
Singing and Nursery Rhymes
One of the most important aspects of teaching young children a foreign language is that the words they learn must be words that the children understand in context. One great way to introduce words that the children already understand is to ready them French nursery rhymes. Mama Lisa has an excellent page full of rhymes and songs that preschoolers are likely to know.
Tips for Introducing Preschoolers to French
It is always a great idea to teach young kids foreign language. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you embark on your world:
- Take advantage of as many hands on opportunities as you can. Is the local ballet company performing a George Balanchine ballet? Go see it. Pass by a French bakery every day on your way home--pick something up. Folding French culture naturally into your day will help inspire your little one.
- Speak and listen to French as much as possible. Play songs, watch cartoons and even label pictures with French words. The more your child is exposed to the language the better.
- Introduce your child to a native speaker. If you or your spouse speaks French fluently, then your children should learn to speak as well. If neither you or your spouse speak French, consider investing in an au pair from France.
- Many simple games like Twister can be adapted to become bilingual.
But most importantly, have fun! You want your child's first introduction to the French language to be fun and entertaining!