Ages 0-5? All of these kids are either 0 or 1! We actually have seven-month-olds in our class!
So this population brings a fun challenge: how to teach an interactive language class to children who don't talk yet?!
(Here's a hint: that means no arts and crafts this semester. Babies plus scissors and glue equals very unhappy parents.)
Fortunately, Carol and I both have years of experience engaging babies while speaking French, so we'll manage just fine. Mais quelle surprise!
This week was bookended by French: our new class on Monday morning, my new storytime on Friday afternoon. Or rather, my resurrected French storytime at the Lafayette Public Library. After over a year's sabbatical, it was time to bring it back, warts and all.
(What warts? Oh, like how it started with a group of us taking turns leading storytime, and ended up with me, just me, every time, and how I'm not a native speaker, and how my voice was not made for leading songs, and my kids didn't always cooperate, and attendance was spotty. Those warts.)
Anyway, I'm making two major changes this time around: instead of a twice-a-month storytime, it will happen just once (the second Friday afternoon of the month at 4:00), but now I'm bringing in an additional activity for older kids. We're going to try a playdate in French! Kids ages 5-10 (and their grown-ups) can drop in on the fourth Sunday afternoon from 2:00-4:00 to play board games, do crafts, build Legos, and so forth.
Selfishly, I'm thinking that this sort of event will really appeal to Griffin, but mostly I just want to create an environment for kids where their focus is on what they're playing or creating together, not the fact that their moms want them to speak French to each other. This will hopefully make everyone less self-conscious. And hopefully the parents will be happy to hang out and supervise while they sip coffee and chat. In French! (Cue Sarah's gleeful squeal.)
|So many books...|
So storytime today went remarkably well. Despite not much publicity, nine families attended, and all of them understood well enough that the moms were able to sing along to some of our songs, they laughed at the right places in the funny story, and I didn't have to translate or explain anything in English. It is such a treat to work with kids who have already been exposed to French!