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Old 28.09.2012, 11:20
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French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

Hello everyone!

My son recently started pre-kindergarten at Champittet in Lausanne. His teacher approached me the other day suggesting that for my child to integrate better in class he needs to take extra french lessons during school time which costs a whopping CHF 3300 per school year. I find this to be a lot of money and thought that at his early age he would learn french naturally through immersion (we moved from Zurich and he completely understands-although does not speak--Swiss-German within a year when he was 3 in pre-school). There is only one other child who does not speak french (nor english) in his class and her mother is going to send her to the classes.

He is a very bright and happy child and doesn't seem to be bothered with the language barrier.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks!

~Tracy )
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Old 28.09.2012, 11:27
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

I wouldn't bother, he'll pick it up in no time. Do these French lessons happen to be offered by the same school?
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Old 28.09.2012, 11:32
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

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I wouldn't bother, he'll pick it up in no time. Do these French lessons happen to be offered by the same school?
Yes, they are through his school during school time. They would pull him out of class with the other girl along with other kids in other classes.
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Old 28.09.2012, 11:33
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

To be honest any extra help offered at that age to help him is likely a good thing as compared to a bad thing, it will help him catch up to speed faster and be more confident. If I recall correctly, Champittet starts reading, writing, etc. at age 4, so indeed it is not exactly a slow immersion process like group play in the public schools. I understood Champittet was quite demanding at that age and learning how to write and say the words correctly in French is indeed difficult if not impossible if not speaking the language. In my view, if in Champittet, he likely will need the extra help or will fall behind in the core foundation elements. Another option would be to repeat the 1ere enf. level, which is not that unheard of in some private schools like Champittet.
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Old 28.09.2012, 11:37
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

I wouldn't bother either. My daughter turned 4 and her first year at school was last year. She started without any knowledge of Catalan and a year later, she understand everything and speaks it too. A teacher helped her twice a week for half an hour each time to improve her Catalan in a one - one conversation but only because she is already dealing with 4 other languages.

They learn very fast with friends.
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Old 28.09.2012, 11:56
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

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To be honest any extra help offered at that age to help him is likely a good thing as compared to a bad thing, it will help him catch up to speed faster and be more confident. If I recall correctly, Champittet starts reading, writing, etc. at age 4, so indeed it is not exactly a slow immersion process like group play in the public schools. I understood Champittet was quite demanding at that age and learning how to write and say the words correctly in French is indeed difficult if not impossible if not speaking the language. In my view, if in Champittet, he likely will need the extra help or will fall behind in the core foundation elements. Another option would be to repeat the 1ere enf. level, which is not that unheard of in some private schools like Champittet.
Your advice has made up my mind! Thank you very much! Your detailed information about the school is good to know as our family is new here and didn't know exactly how fast the school teaches, although we know it has a reputation for being academic! Many thanks again! We will have him get these lessons.
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Old 28.09.2012, 12:07
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

Yes, Champittet is very demanding, even at age 4, I do think you are doing the right thing.
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Old 28.09.2012, 12:13
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

No. You are being conned.

He is in pre-KG. He can communicate non-verbally, which is what all boys (and men ) do best anyway.

If his French is not good enough, the Gemeinde/Commune will provide free language tuition when he gets to KG, so tell them "thanks, but no thanks".

As for learning to read etc. at that age, why bother if you are going to put your child through public schooling. If this is indeed what you are going to do, then your child is going to be bored mindless for the next couple of years...
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Old 28.09.2012, 12:14
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

Try the following websites www.linguascope.com and www.atantot.com, you need to subscribe, but it will be a pitance compared to what you are asked to pay, these sites are great fun and perfectly adapted to the age of your little one (start with KS2, which is primary school age).
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Old 28.09.2012, 12:20
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

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To be honest any extra help offered at that age to help him is likely a good thing as compared to a bad thing, it will help him catch up to speed faster and be more confident. If I recall correctly, Champittet starts reading, writing, etc. at age 4, so indeed it is not exactly a slow immersion process like group play in the public schools. I understood Champittet was quite demanding at that age and learning how to write and say the words correctly in French is indeed difficult if not impossible if not speaking the language. In my view, if in Champittet, he likely will need the extra help or will fall behind in the core foundation elements. Another option would be to repeat the 1ere enf. level, which is not that unheard of in some private schools like Champittet.
Like WTF!?

Repeating a pre-KG year... and parents put up with this?

As someone who actually went to a French school with 3 French words, (Oui, Non and Maman in case you want to know), I can tell you that it is not difficult and not that demanding if immersed. Within the year I was getting better marks than the Frenchies and indeed one girl was caught copying me (to get the right answers).

Charlotte. I still remember the fact that she still got a sticker! Oh the rage still burns today...
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Old 28.09.2012, 12:25
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

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If his French is not good enough, the Gemeinde/Commune will provide free language tuition when he gets to KG, so tell them "thanks, but no thanks".

.
You have some important points put the situation of the OP is quite different. Child is in a private school, not public. This particular private school starts all the 3 R's very intensively at age 4; it is vastly different from the Swiss state schools esp. at this age. Most children at that school that I know of are fully reading at age 5. I presume as OP enrolled at this school, intends to continue there, and this is the foundation levels that only accelerate as the years continue. While I agree that normally there is often no need, in this case, it is indeed very different.
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Old 28.09.2012, 12:30
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

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You have some important points put the situation of the OP is quite different. Child is in a private school, not public. This particular private school starts all the 3 R's very intensively at age 4; it is vastly different from the Swiss state schools esp. at this age. Most children at that school that I know of are fully reading at age 5. I presume as OP enrolled at this school, intends to continue there, and this is the foundation levels that only accelerate as the years continue. While I agree that normally there is often no need, in this case, it is indeed very different.
I take your point that it is private. But that's also the point that needs to be kept in mind.

School: "Oh little Johnny is a wonderful child, but we do so feel that he would be so much better off with some additional tuition"

Parent: "Really? Oh no, mustn't miss out here, terrible - what can we do?"

School: "Well, we have this wonderful course, a mere 3000 CHF and your little Johnny will be singing like a local Romande in no-time"

Get the unbiased opinion?

I still think that he would be fine. Children are excellent at absorbing the correct sounds and pronunciations at that age because their vocal cords are not set. This means that they will usually be able to repeat what the teacher says correctly pretty quickly.
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Old 28.09.2012, 14:16
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

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I take your point that it is private. But that's also the point that needs to be kept in mind.

School: "Oh little Johnny is a wonderful child, but we do so feel that he would be so much better off with some additional tuition"

Parent: "Really? Oh no, mustn't miss out here, terrible - what can we do?"

School: "Well, we have this wonderful course, a mere 3000 CHF and your little Johnny will be singing like a local Romande in no-time"

Get the unbiased opinion?

I still think that he would be fine. Children are excellent at absorbing the correct sounds and pronunciations at that age because their vocal cords are not set. This means that they will usually be able to repeat what the teacher says correctly pretty quickly.
The help my daughter had was a teacher initiative and no money was asked. It was part of the school program/job to do it.
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Old 10.10.2012, 21:00
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Re: French Lessons Necessary for a 4 year old??

Dear Tracy,

Have you thought about hiring a tutor? Maybe just a couple of times a week, and teach through book reading, culture learning, and other fun activities. It could be less expensive and strict than entering a 4-year-old into school classes.

ACB
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