Language learning, international links and global issues
The Mead School believes that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. Our main language is French, although we do provide opportunities to celebrate a great variety of languages and culture.
We began the school year with our own “International Day of Languages” to coincide with European Languages Day which has been celebrated throughout Europe on 26th September, since 2001. Each class chose a country and focused on a particular aspect of the culture and language to focus on. Year groups paired up to share their learning and the day ended with a whole school celebration assembly of the day. It was exciting to see older and younger classes working together and the children were proud to share their learning.
Language Learning at The Mead
Through our French sessions with the children, we aim:
- To give children a positive, enthusiastic attitude to MFL learning within a secure and supportive environment.
- To foster an interest in learning other languages.
- To introduce young children to another language in a way that is enjoyable and fun.
Teaching at Key Stage 2 includes games, role-play, singing, reading and writing French. This year we purchased an exciting new French scheme of work for KS2 called ilanguages which has provided us with a wealth of interactive resources, including many sound files from native speakers. Children and staff are really enjoying the lessons and are able to explore the language and French culture through a variety of practical and visual games, stories, role play and fun activities.
KS1 pupils are introduced to the language through simple greetings, songs, games and stories.
We strongly believe that learning a language through a direct link with another country enriches and improves our knowledge by making the learning purposeful and engaging. We have maintained our strong link with Ecole François Albert, Adriers. This year our focus for collaboration has been with Years 5 and Reception. Both year groups have been involved in language learning projects, but with different emphases.
Year 5 pupils were keen to find out more about the school and family life of their French counterparts. We exchanged information about our own interests and both classes asked and answered questions in both French and English during Skype calls during the year.
The children in Reception have amazed us with their language learning of both Spanish and French though our joint story project with Ecole François Albert in France and Runnymede College in Spain. We wanted to share stories and songs as a means to learning a new language and have had an incredible time doing so!
Further International Activities:
This year we launched an International Games Club with a focus on maths and counting games from around the world. The club researched and learnt a number of games, such as Mancala from Africa, Chopsticks and Tangrams from China and 5 Stones from Asia. We ran an afternoon in Butterflies and Bees teaching and playing the games. We also introduced the games to all the classes in school and set up a playground area to which members of the whole school are invited to come and try out the games. During our Community Day we set up an area for parents to play some of the games we had been learning.
We also embraced the many languages and cultures in school by meeting regularly with parents, children and staff from different countries around the world. This year we wanted to provide both children and parents with opportunities to share aspects of their language and culture with the school to enrich, develop and broaden our curriculum. We also discussed and decided themes to share across the whole school. Children have felt proud to share their experiences and as a school we have been fortunate to learn about so many customs, countries and faiths. This is something we will continue to expand on in the coming years.
Global issues and themes:
We have been involved in some exciting activities this year, with learning centred on Global themes.
The whole school became involved in our No Plastic project. We started with “Waste Week” in which all classes considered the ways that pollution is affecting us, and thought of ways in which we could seek support from local and national businesses, shops and the government. Year 3 continued their project in a collaborative venture with the Australian International School in Vietnam. Year 7 science students shared their concern for plastic waste with our Year 3 classes. Students created and shared videos and PowerPoints to highlight our shared concerns. It was very interesting to see children across the globe sharing their passion for a cleaner world and the impact it had on our younger children to have the opportunity to working with children from so far away on a shared passion. We hope to continue this link during the next school year.
Identity and Belonging:
A highlight of our school year was our Community Day “This is Me.” This was a chance for classes across the whole school to share and promote ideas that they feel passionate about. Class topics and stalls ranged from pollution, fair trade and farming, to charitable projects, music and drama. We also held a question time, hosted by our Deputy Headteacher and attended by our MP Michelle Donelan, local councillors and business people. Children posed questions about current affairs and news and the panel carefully considered their answers. Watch out for our video coming soon.