Broadening language provision

An independent girls’ school in Chester is planning to teach its pupils three languages between the ages of 4 and 11

Queen’s Lower School is introducing both Mandarin and French to the school curriculum, in addition to the Spanish already taught there. Currently, other languages are taught through clubs, but this move will see three languages on the primary curriculum.

The subjects will be taught through the language discovery programme, meaning that the whole school from reception to year six will learn a specific language for the year and this will operate on a carousel programme taught by subject specialists and native speakers.

Queen’s Senior School is already an advanced Confucius classroom – a title bestowed by the Confucius Institute, which means that Hanban teachers from China are based at the school.

Headmistress of the Lower School Mrs Cookson explained how it would benefit the children: “Pupils here already receive a rich educational diet. Alongside the fundamental requirements of the national curriculum, subjects are delivered in a creative way and our focus is on broadening young minds and developing their natural inquisitiveness. We believe that this new programme will further inspire and engage our pupils whilst also equipping them better for the multi-lingual 21st century.

“Research and our own experience has shown us how receptive primary pupils are to learning new languages. Young learners are able to mimic pronunciation without inhibitions and self-consciousness and the learning tools like songs, engaging play, drama, poetry, IT and storytelling are both familiar and fun. The benefits are enormous – learning languages early enriches and enhances children’s mental development so that they more fully understand not just other languages, but their own and other cultures too. We are very excited about this new programme.”

Queen’s will be holding a free ‘Little Linguists’ event on Saturday 16 May for girls in years two-five at any school. Pupils will get the chance to have a go at learning Mandarin, French and Spanish through games, dance, song and storytelling.


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