High mountains. At the Orcières canteen, we speak English


In daily learning, Christine Donnier-Valentin guides the children who eat in the canteen in a playful way. “I am fluent in English after 32 years in London. When I arrived in Orcières, I worked for the Amicale laïque and I taught the children a few words of English. Given their enthusiasm, the municipality offered me to continue during and after the canteen,” she says.

“We have been asking for an English speaker at the academy for a long time, without success. And the opportunity came with Christine who was looking for work. Learning daily through play is the best approach. In addition, we live in a tourist place frequented by foreign customers. Many parents do not speak English and they want their children to be more comfortable than them in handling this language”, adds the deputy mayor, Marie-Françoise Gervais.

Already great progress after one trimester

And in fact, after a term where everyday words are exchanged in the language of Shakespeare, the children are able to understand many words and sentences. “Even if they don’t know how to make sentences, they listen and they learn,” says Christine Donnier-Valentin.

Who sticks to the events of the calendar to discover a new vocabulary: birthdays, Halloween and soon Christmas.

The colours, the dishes they use, the food, the weather, the clothes, “everyday things”, are already integrated by the children. Vocabulary related to football is also acquired because in the courtyard, after the canteen, there is room for football, skipping rope and plastic arts.

“It’s gratifying to help the little ones and to tell them that anything is possible. They realize their progress and they talk about it with their parents,” rejoices Christine Donnier-Valentin. And to conclude: “I would like that when they enter college, they know how to speak in public without shame”.

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