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English or French ski-school lessons??

(14 Posts)
ringing Fri 15-Nov-13 16:24:24

Trying to book ski school for 3 DC. ESF available mornings for all 3 or English speaking school for 2 eldest DC in the morning but littlest (age 4) is only available in the afternoon. I really like morning lessons as we can do things as a family in the afternoon, swimming sledging etc, but worried that they may find being in a completely French group quite daunting (age 6 & 8) It'll be French half-term so am anticipating all French kids rather than a mix of languages. WWYD? If we go with English option we won't have as much time together as a family as I'd like. maybe split them up so eldest in English speaking, youngest with ESF. How have you found ESF with 6 & 8 year olds?

SatinSandals Fri 15-Nov-13 17:44:26

I have found that with that age the English speaking is all important, it depends how confident and outgoing they are.

ringing Sat 16-Nov-13 12:39:54

Thanks, I think the eldest would definitely appreciate some English conversation as we're self-catering so they won't be miing with other kids in the evening,. Part of me just wants to immerse them in the whole French thing though. What do you thing about English speaking for a 4 year old? I'm veering towards ESF because they have a big snow garden and magic carpet.

SatinSandals Sat 16-Nov-13 22:20:19

I found that the facilities and equipment were no good if they didn't speak English. However my children are fairly reserved. I have bumped it up in the hope that you have more advice.

Ragusa Sun 17-Nov-13 00:31:30

Where are you going? If it's a resort with a large international clientele it's not necessarily the case that all the kids in the class will be French.

Best thing to do is to Google for reviews of the particular branch of ESF. Some are great, some are awful. I think the Piou Piou/ Snowgarden for the 4 year old will be absolutely fine - they almost always speak English and the social element is not so important. For the elder 2 the social element is more important. Although possibly less so if they are of the same standard and going to be in lessons together, IYSWIM.

Are they all complete beginners? An alternative (and depending on how fit and feisty your 4 year old is) you could pay for private instruction for them all and then they should be guaranteed teaching in English.

Practically-speaking, it'd be easier for you to drop them all off at the same time and the same place....

Ragusa Sun 17-Nov-13 00:31:53

I mean private instruction as in one instructor between the three of them.

massistar Sun 17-Nov-13 09:53:22

I'd avoid ESF like the plague based on what I've seen in the resorts I've been in. They tend to have massive classes and I have seen them leave kids behind before.

Ragusa Sun 17-Nov-13 20:39:01

I agree they don't always have the best reputation but my Dd, who was just shy of 5, had a great time with ESF in a major French resort last year - it was off-season though and the class size was small. Instructor was great, really caring.
I think you need to check out the local reputatiin. Post on Snowheads' forum for advice maybe?

Lissie00 Thu 02-Jan-14 23:36:07

English speaking is useful, especially with little ones. To me though, the most important thing is group size. Optimum aout 4 - 5. I have seen far too many long trails of cold, miserable little ones. Too much waiting around for others to pick themselves up. Too many for valuable feedback from an instructor leading from the front.

trixymalixy Fri 03-Jan-14 23:34:51

ESF are awful. DS and another wee boy were the only non French speakers in the group. I get the impression they were largely ignored. dS hardly made any progress. English speaking lessons if you have the option without a shadow of a doubt!

hench Sat 04-Jan-14 00:47:33

when two of mine were 4 and 6 they went in ESF classes (separate ones as different abilities) and were both the only English speakers. As the class sizes were small the language didn't really seem to matter - a lot of learning to ski is copying after all. The four year old adapted very well, when I asked her how many were in her class she happily answered 'cinq'. On another occasion the following year they again went into ESF, but this time the groups were huge (half term) and although there were other english children the experience wasn't as good. I would say class size rather than language is most important.

pombal Mon 06-Jan-14 18:42:18

Avoid ESF, for the 4 and 6 yr old.

8 year old might be ok if confident.
I was put in an ESF group class at age 4 and still have nightmares about it. Had bad experience with them and my DS age 4.

Sorry to be negative sad

trixymalixy Mon 06-Jan-14 18:51:54

My own experiences of ESF as an adult aren't great either. 10 minutes explanation in French and two words in English. Thankfully my French is passable enough that I could get the gist of what he was saying in French.

We're using Evo 2 this year. Will be interesting to see if they are any better.

New Generation were fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend them, but they are a bit more expensive.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 06-Jan-14 19:00:27

Which resort?

Problem with a non English group is that there's no guarantee the instructor will speak any English. I've certainly met ESF instructors who didn't speak English. So how can they give the DC any instruction?

I'd look at a private lesson for either the youngest or the two oldest and put the other/s in the English group. Or explore other ski schools. Oxygene are really good and Evolution 2 also good.

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