Teaching kids French through puppetry
- Kelly Apter
- 26 March 2012
Bilingual puppetry company Le Petit Monde present their Easter show, Lapin Wants an Easter Carrot
As any adult who has undertaken a language class will tell you, it goes in quicker when you’re younger. Learning French as a child, when that little sponge-like brain is firing on all cylinders, isn’t just easier, it’s a lot more fun since Tania Czajka set up her puppet company, Le Petit Monde.
Aimed at ages 3-5, Lapin Wants an Easter Carrot is the latest show Czajka has created featuring Lapin, a friendly rabbit who only ever talks in his native tongue, French. His friends, however, speak both French and English, and that’s where the learning comes in.
‘I aim for my shows to be understood by everyone, including children who have never heard French words before,’ explains Czajka. ‘So having the right balance of French and English is very important. I build my scripts around simple words like "pomme", fun or pleasant sounding ones or those similar to English, such as "carotte". I then make sure the main word is repeated throughout the story.’
Czajka was inspired to set up her company after the children she worked with in nursery schools responded positively to her French puppet games. ‘I realised they could learn so much and so easily through puppetry,’ she says. ‘We don’t set out to teach French, but of course we speak it during the show. I think the children are naturally drawn to this very visual little world and don’t realise they are learning new words – to them, they are just other words. That’s the magic of the pre-school age.’
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Tue 10 Apr.