Turns out there is more than one fabulous French singing group for children in the Bristol area! No sooner had Audrey from Les Petits ZousZous written a guest post for Ma Puce’s Get French Inspired section with her five top tips for bringing children up to be bilingual, than I heard from Kath at Knitty Mummy to ask if she could write a guest post for Ma Puce about the French singing group for children that she attends in North Bristol and the benefits that attending the group has brought to both her and her children. Here is Kath’s post:
The benefits of attending a French singing group for children
We’ve been attending the North Bristol based Petites Voix French singing group for children for over 4 years now. My daughter started at 10 months and after a few years of taking both children, it’s now just me and my son. I couldn’t speak French when I started taking the kids; my husband can having worked in Paris for several years, but as I am the one at home all day it fell to me to expose them to different languages.
As with many toddler groups it is the group leader who can make or break the experience and Melanie, the owner and founder of Petites Voix makes this one of the most enjoyable sessions of our week. A session starts with us all singing bonjour to Gaston, a beret-wearing frog puppet and each week the songs follow a theme.
For a farmyard themed week we might sing ‘Vieux MacDonald Avait Une Ferme’ and ‘Bêê Bêê Muton Noir’ (even I could figure out the translation for those ditties) or more traditional French nursery rhymes, such as ‘Une Poule Sur Un Mur’. Some of the other themes we have covered include; counting, colours, wild animals, the sea, body parts and getting dressed. Midway through the session the kids might get a story and there is always a craft session that fits with the theme. The kids love getting out les batons de colle (glue sticks)!
The French language soon starts to sink in!
Before singing goodbye to Gaston we will sing the songs we learned the previous week. During the first session I attended I never thought I would be able to sing along. The words are always up on the wall for us to use, but having only done one year of French at school before taking the kids along to Petites Voix, I thought I would really struggle. But, I soon found that when we went back over the songs from a previous week the lyrics really had sunk in. Which made me realise that if I was picking up all these lovely French lyrics, then so must my children.
And I wasn’t wrong. I was bursting with pride the first time my daughter sang ‘Un Petite Lapin’ all the way through on her own. The other day my three year old son even said a line from a song that was relevant to the English conversation we were having.
It’s not just kids who learn French in French singing groups!
I’ve also found that attending the group has benefits for me; on holiday in France my son fell ill and we had to call out the local doctor. Although it was up to other members of my family to have discussions with the doctor, thanks to Petites Voix, I found that I knew enough vocabulary to understand what was going on. I didn’t even find myself translating it in my head; I just understood.
More about Petites Voix French singing group for under fives
Petites Voix classes are held on Bishop Road, Bristol, BS7. The classes run for three ten-week terms a year at a cost of £50 per term for one child with siblings half price.
Group founder and leader Melanie has recorded 3 CDs full of Petites Voix favourite songs which are available to purchase in the classes, so so that parents and children can sing the songs at home. Click here to find out more about Petites Voix