Every Saturday morning in the school term, while most people are still sleeping, my sister and I have to get up. We get dressed really quickly and have breakfast. After brushing our teeth, we drive for 20 minutes to Farandole.
Farandole is the name given to the only French Saturday School in Birmingham. The word “Farandole” refers to a popular dance in France, not unlike a jig, and is also a famous piece written by Bizet. But I do not go there to dance, or to play music! At Farandole, I learn how to speak and write French fluently.
The classes in Farandole are numbered in the same way as classes in primary schools in France: Reception is “Maternelle”, Year 1 is CP1, Year 2 is CP2, Year 3 is CE1, Year 4 is CE2, Year 5 is CM1 and Year 6 is CM2. These abbreviations stand for French words, for example C.P. is “Cours Primaire” and so on. I am currently in CM2 and my sister is in CP2. I have been going to French School since CE2.
At 9.30, we go to our classes and our teacher registers us. My friends normally get to the school earlier than me but I’m still on time! Our homework gets checked and we stay in class until the bell goes for recess at 11.15. While we’re in class we discuss the latest news in French – it normally turns out to be something like “We had Maths on Wednesday and our teacher was boring” or “Meh. I went to bed yesterday”, but also real news such as “Last night, France beat Switzerland 5-2 in Le Mondial!” We do exercises from our textbooks and find missing verbs in French songs. We recently listened to a half-English, half-French song called “When I was a child, I was a Jedi” and everyone thought it was dreadful but we had to listen to it all over again because my friend didn’t get all of the verbs down! We also write short texts and letters to our class teacher. At recess, we play in the car park. There’s a hill but we’re not allowed to roll down it – some boys did and they got told off by their teacher.
After recess, we go back to our class and we normally do a crossword or something else fun. We also get new homework which we should try to do during the week, but most people just ‘forget’ and do it at the beginning of the lesson the following week. We can also take out a new book from the library, provided we return the previously borrowed one.
On the 28th June, a group of musicians will come to Farandole and perform to us “Carnival of the Animals” by Saint-Saens. These performances will also be accompanied by short French poems for each animal. As the eldest in the school, our class’s job is to interview the musicians and write an article for the first copy of the Farandole newsletter! Last Saturday, we recited some of the poems to the Reception class, but they were adapted so that the little girls and boys would understand them better.
I used to have a friend at the French School. She spoke six languages and we invited each other to birthday parties, but then she left and she lives on a French island near Madagascar called La Réunion. We write each other emails in French and send photos. I think the sunsets there look beautiful! I have made new friends at my French School but I won’t forget her – as long as her email address stays the same. She goes to a French School on her island on all weekdays and she likes the weather there!
Au revoir et à bientot!