The goal of each and every week of French summer camps at Camp Tournesol is for campers to have fun while improving their French. We work very hard to ensure that the activities and games that take place for campers are enjoyable, reflect the interests of the campers, and can be used to help campers practice their French language skills. But how can you expect your child’s French skills to develop while attending Camp Tournesol? The following breaks down language acquisition, period-by-period, for campers in our French Day Camp (ages 7-12).
Bricolage (arts and crafts)
During this period, campers listen actively in French, honing their listening skills as they follow the directions to complete the craft of the day. As they follow each step, campers are exposed to transition words (e.g. first do this, the next step is). Gestures and objects are also used to introduce campers to new vocabulary (e.g. the counsellor will fold the piece of paper and say “tu plie le papier” to introduce the verb “plier”) that is necessary to complete the craft.
Cooperation games are great to create a positive environment amongst campers, so that they are comfortable taking risks to speak in French amongst their peers. These games are specifically selected to have children working together, and in order to succeed they need to communicate! As the group works together to accomplish the task, campers learn new vocabulary, sentence structures, and different ways of expressing the same idea from their peers, which can greatly improve their language learning.
Board games are another great opportunity for campers to interact with their peers and benefit from the language being spoken around them. What is unique about the games played is that the games played really come second to the conversations the campers amongst themselves. The conversations are spontaneous and authentic, as per the Ontario French curriculum. Campers will also be introduced to board game specific vocabulary (like shuffling the cards = “brasser les cartes”) that they can use to succeed in game play.
One of the active modules, campers will develop their listening skills in this module as they learn how to play each game. New vocabulary is also taught, using gestures and the various materials for each game; vocabulary could include parts of the human body (for example, no tagging people above the shoulders or below the hips), sports, and sport equipment.
Finally, our creativity module is all about taking what the students know and what they enjoy, and making something new! Campers will work together to create a performance of some sort, drawing on their new French vocabulary and everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. Bloom’s Taxonomy of thinking recognizes the importance of learning by doing and theorizes that children learn more easily when they use the skills to create something new. Campers will develop their confidence in using their French skills as they develop the presentation, and then ultimately present it on Friday!