A dynamic French-speaking association

Like other ethnic groups in Australia, French-speaking parents are keen to pass on their language and culture to their children. It is by no means an automatic process and without support, many fail to motivate their children to keep up French as a mother tongue.It is especially difficult once the child has entered the Australian school system.

This is why a group of North Shore families with a French-speaking background (French, Belgian, Swiss, Canadian, North African, Mauritian) created the French speaking Association of the North Shore, (F.A.N.S.), in June 1998. Its purpose is the promotion of the French language and culture amongst the French-speaking families located in the area.

A native French-speaking child in Australia may feel isolated because he / she receives all their learning stimulus in English (at school, relationship with other children and adults, reading, television, etc.). However most importantly they do not wish to differ from their peers. These are the two major factors that need to be addressed if parents wish to keep the language spoken at home with their bilingual child.

Why should your bilingual child participate in French-speaking activities?

  • To meet other bilingual French speakers of the same age.
  • To offer a balance with everyday teaching in English and encourage learning French to be seen as “normal” within an English speaking school system.
  • To let them hear and learn French from others (not just from their parents).
  • To improve their knowledge of French as a native language in the early years before the language structures of the brain are “set”.
  • To extend their vocabulary in a fun atmosphere.

How can you encourage the use of French within your family ?

There are many activities on offer through FANS , or within the local community, to motivate children to keep up their French as a mother tongue. There are different options for children, as well as social activities for parents.

Playgroups françaisFor little ones under the age of 5, the francophone playgroup offers activities under parental supervision. In Sydney, there is currently one playgroup organised for French-speaking children.

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Fotolia_9256988_MedFor children between the ages of 5 and 12, Killarney Heights Public School (primary level) runs a bilingual program.

Since January 1999 the school has offered a French-English bilingual program, with each class being taught by 2 qualified teachers. One being Australian and the other a native French speaker.

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iStock_000026941382Medium_editFANS offers French classes for teenage students (DELF) and adults, taught by qualified francophone teachers. In order to participate in the classes you must be a member of FANS.

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PicnicActivities for all ages!

A dynamic group of FANS members put together a calendar each term which includes a great range of activities to appeal to different ages and interests. From a walking group, to cultural outings, family outings with children and movie nights there is something for everyone.

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