Survival tips for the new child

Over the first few weeks of our children’s being thrown into the deep end of French primary schooling, we found some of the following to be important! Our six year old was put into nursery (maternelle), when she had already been to English Reception class, and she spoke not a word for a full eight weeks. I put it down to assimilation before fluency. A year later, and her French accent is excellent. She moved up to ‘big school’ with a group of children she already knew, with the advantage of knowing how to read and write in English.

Our second child was seven and fairly shy – we found out that she didn’t really know how to tell the teacher she needed the toilet! Our eldest, at 10, was highly social and had a group of friends by the end of the week. We found it was hardest for the youngest ones who had to deal with teasing and bullying while unable to defend themselves or to explain to the teacher what was going on.

Essential phrases for your child’s first day at school in France:

Je ne comprends pas – I don’t understand

Je veux aller à la toilette – I want to go to the toilet/bathroom

Il m’a frappé ici – He hit me here

Je me sens malade – I feel ill

Où est-ce que tu as mal? – Where does it hurt?

Est-ce que vous pouvez répéter? – Could you please repeat that?

Je peux jouer avec vous? – Can I play with you guys?

T’es d’ou? – Where are you from?

Je suis anglais(e) – I am English

J’aime le foot – I like football

Montre-moi – show me

Comment tu t’appelles? – What is your name?

Je m’appelle – My name is ..

Je peux essayer? – Can I have a go?

C’est à moi – It’s my turn

C’est interdit – It’s not allowed

Ne t’en fais pas – don’t worry

Arrête! – Stop!

Ca va? – Are you OK?

Ca va – I’m OK

Je m’en fiche – I don’t care

Je mange pas ça – I can’t eat that!

J’aime pas ça – I don’t like that

C’est super-bon – That’s fantastic

Cest marrant – That’s a laugh

Qu’est-ce qu’on fait? – What shall we do?

C’est mortal – I’m bored to death

C’est débile – This is rubbish

C’est cool – This is cool

More glossaries of useful French words and phrases…

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