I bought this a little while back for La Belle Fille but we have only recently started to listen to it regularly. The CD’s target age group is 5-11, but our daughter has only just turned four – we started to use it regularly when she was three – and she is really enjoying it.
The first thing that’s an advantage is that it can be played anywhere that you have access to a CD player, DVD or computer so it’s pretty versatile in where French can be learned. We started to listen to it in the car and then, because our daughter enjoyed it so much, we started to bring it back into the house with us so she could carry on listening to it there.
The CD is a mixture of beginners French topics – saying hello and how are you, colours, numbers 1-10, days of the week, months of the year – as well as some French songs.
My daughter can happily say her name and age now as well as basic greetings and responses. This is really good as, even though she had learnt colours and numbers before through YouTube videos, these basics are not often in songs.
She also really enjoys the songs and many of these are numbers, colours, days of the week etc set to familiar tunes. She is now happily singing the days of the week in French whilst the CD isn’t on. The only thing I would caution about here is that, even though she is happily joining in. However a word of caution; she is still only learning and applying concepts such as the weather, days of the week, months etc at the moment so, unlike a child in the prescribed age group, even if she happily knows the word being taught she needs some help contextualising the word. So, for example, I now consciously get her to say the day of the week in English and French each day to do this and it’s pushing her on in both languages as a result.
The other songs on the CD are traditional French children’s songs like Petit Papa. She likes these songs and I can here her part humming, part singing the words in these too. I was going to say that I would have preferred more songs with the keys topics as she would get more out of that, but actually I think this gives another level to the CD. It means that there is a more advanced level incorporated into the CD so it can continue to be useful after she has learnt those topics.
Throughout the CD the presenter, Claire, encourages the child to make connections between French and English words and is therefore introducing them to the concept of cognates. She refers to them being ‘language detectives’ and it’s a technique once introduced by her can be used in other areas by us as parents and as such she models the teaching technique well.
The CD incorporates a CD-ROM function with printables for the children including song lyrics. These include some drawing, letter tracing and filling in the missing letters exercises amongst others. I was really excited to see this advertised, but I must say that I felt these weren’t thought through as much as they could have been. They aren’t topic grouped and, although they all teach skills such as hand eye co-ordination, they aren’t always teaching French specifically. For example one activity, be a cartoonist, encourages the child to complete the farmers face themselves. Apart from having ‘Old Macdonald’ in French on the CD behind the task there is no other connection. If you looked at the sheet without the context you wouldn’t know that it had been produced to instruct a child in French at all.
The only reason I gave the CD a four star rating as opposed to five stars was the dissapointment in relation to the promised handouts, particularly as many of the topics are not included at all so I’m resorting to creating my own to support this otherwise excellent CD. The CD a good buy though particularly when you consider the price – less than £6 at the time of posting, and even less when a second hand coy is bought through Amazon.