Becoming Proficient in English - Preparing for International schools
KidooLand offers different classes for different levels, ages and objectives. Our popular English is Fun programme is a stepped language programme where we teach through fun activities in small interactive groups.
Becoming bilingual and going to a bilingual school.
At Kidooland we also offer final preparation intensive learning courses for those that eventually want to fully integrate into bilingual schools.
What does it mean when we say "prepare" for an international test? We give the French and International families the opportunity to learn and improve their English to a level where they become bilingual. Once they reach that stage, they too can take the tests for the International programmes aimed at bilingual children traditionally from Anglo parents living in France or One Parent One Language OPOL families .
Many of our students, start very young sometimes at 2 years old with many starting before in our parent baby classes. They come every week for years and during the holidays too to our Stage Vacance KidooCamps. Playgroup and Kindergarten children can come 5 times a week including afternoons and really increase their contact hours with us. Right now we have students with us who speak French at home and English with us (24 hours a week) and are perfectly bilingual at 3 years old. Older children may come to us for the holidays where they learn science, geography, journalism, computing, theatre all in English and so start to make the necessary connections in their brain between the English and French.
This contact time and our very varied and fun programme means that after many years they have naturally built up a solid vocabulary and grammar for everyday life and situations. Only then are they ready to take tests for the international programmes and follow the demanding programme. Quite often I will have a parent to a 5 year old ask to join a 1 week class in order to then take the CP test. If this is a pure French family and a first experience in English we would recommend they start learning English now with a view to attempting a college entrance. Raising bilingual children requires practice and reinforcement across both languages and if you are not Anglophones then preparation well in advance to increase the contact time in the 2nd language is needed in order to become fluent and eventually bilingual. [See below for information on the European defined levels and the number of lesson contact hours needed for each level]
Our preparation classes have just 6 children in so there is energy but also to have personal attention from fully trained and experienced teachers.. If you visit KidooLand you will see it is like you have entered a little part of England. It becomes a total immersion for your child and you too! These classes are the perfect place to help shy students practice their English with strangers and grow in confidence. These are life skills as well as being key to showing off your full potential in an interview. Of course there are no guarantees. We can only help with the English and there are many factors that will contribute to their acceptance or not on a programme; how they perform in the French part, their confidence on the day and whether they are already demonstrating they are an excellent student in their current school. The international programmes are demanding and oversubscribed so it makes sense that they are looking for the best students who learn fast. The International schools themselves are very different and it is not a one size fits all so do get feedback from parents with experience in the different systems and compare carefully to choose the best one for your child. We do get asked by many people to help prepare / boost beginner and intermediates at the last minute . We try to be clear that while an intensive preparation class will help their English it is not realistic for entering a bilingual programme at this late stage unless they are an exceptional student in their current school system. There is just not enough contact hours available last minute to reach the required level.
We try to be as honest as possible with you and may encourage you to take another path or class.
We believe that all the English contact time your child has with us is useful whether they go to an international school or not so do keep practising. There are many options out there.
HOW MANY HOURS TO BECOME BILINGUAL - PROFICIENT IN ENGLISH
The council of Europe has European wide defined levels for teaching , learning and assessment
The international tests will be looking for levels that fall into proficient user (C1 & C2) and possibly a high independent user (B2) if all other areas of the dossier were excellent.
According to Cambridge it takes 200 hours of contact time (lessons) to progress from one level to another on the CEFR scale.
Level A2 estimate is 180-200 hours of teaching time
Level C2 estimate is 1000-1200 hours of teaching time.
This is an average and many factors will influence the number of hours eg age, attention, contact hours and exposure outside of the lesson etc.
Children who are already bilingual in French plus another language who then want to start English and often their acquisition of their 3rd language is faster.