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French speaking nursery, English speaking parents - how long for 2.8 year old to be fluent?

(8 Posts)
Rantmum Wed 23-May-07 13:04:17

To any MNers with a similar experience - we are moving to a French speaking area and ds will start nursery there. My ds will be 2.8 when he starts nursery and I was planning to put him in for 5 days, but on reflection wonder if this will be too much for him at this age. DH and I speak very poor french although we intend to take classes to brush up, so I had thought that maybe a daily dose of immersion at this age will ensure that he is fluent by the time "real" school starts - any thoughts? Will 3 days initially be enough under these circumstances?

Othersideofthechannel Wed 23-May-07 17:24:39

Why do you think 5 days will be too much? If he is used to going to nursery, then he probably won't have a problem with it being another language.
I know of two English mums here in France who put 2.6 and nearly 3 yrs olds in school (école maternelle) and although it was a few months before they were at ease with speaking in French, neither of the girls seemed bothered that everything was going on in French.

Rantmum Wed 23-May-07 18:05:01

Ds (now 2.4) is not used to nursery as he does not go here in the UK at the moment although we live in a close knit community where he knows alot of the other children his age and sees them regularly.

In the autumn we will be moving to Luxembourg and he will be starting a French speaking nursery in the same month - I am partly worried about all the new things happening to him at the same time - new house, new environment, starting nursery for first time,unfamiliar faces, new language.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 23-May-07 19:49:18

Yes, it is a lot of changes at once. I think even if there wasn't a language issue, I would like to ease my child into nursery gradually if it was possible.
They pick up languages so quickly at this age and are still working so much of their mother tongue that I don't think they are that perturbed about being in a group where everyone is speaking a foreign language. So try not to worry about the language issue. I don't think it will make it more difficult for him to cope with the rest of the changes.

What age do they start school in Luxembourg?

JoannaArcher1 Tue 21-Aug-07 11:49:57

My son has been going to Ecole Maternelle in the UK for 4 whole days a week for the past 2 yrs and he hardly ever speaks to me because he knows, of course, that I speak English better. However, I get the occasional surprising feedback from people who, out of my hearing, are really impressed with his fluency. The school is registered with the equivalent of Ofstead in France and as part of that provide a traffic-lights bi-annual report for various skills. Green for no trouble at all to red for needs more work...that gives me a lot of encouragement and I can see clearly the areas where he could improve although really, everything he can do is a fantastic bonus considering that I neither speak French fluently or live in the country!


Hurlyburly Tue 21-Aug-07 11:59:33

He will be totally fluent in under a year. Betcha. That was my experience anyway.

The thing to watch for is that within three years, you will be an Excruciatingly Embarrassing Parent. This is because they will be speaking french fluently and idiomatically and you will be turning up at school speaking (inevitably) with a heavy accent.

That's your destiny, Rantmum.

Rhubarb Tue 21-Aug-07 12:01:59

My ds was a late speaker. He had been in a French nursery from the age of 18months and was 2.8 when we arrived back in England. He could only say a couple of very short sentences in French and hardly anything in English.

I think they are very slow to start with so be patient. And they will choose one language to be their main language, so you may find them forgetting some English words.

And yes 3 days is fine, that's all my ds went in for.

Othersideofthechannel Tue 21-Aug-07 12:09:45

Have you moved yet Rantmum?

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