Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Diary of a bibliothécaire, first school visit


Diary of a Bibliothécaire French Village Diaries Franco/Anglais story time
The Queen's Hat

Welcome back to my Diary of a Bibliothécaire. I have nearly completed a whole month at work and the big news this week is that we welcomed the first classes for our Franco/Anglais story time sessions. I was a little nervous about being let loose on the public on day one, but ‘performing’ in front of a class of four and five-year olds, speaking in French and English and singing in English as well, was terrifying. However, with C by my side to lead the way, and some friendly and familiar faces in the crowd, I survived another first at the library.


As luck (or the universe) would have it our first class was also the first class Ed attended when he started in Maternelle (nursery school) in 2004. The teacher and the classroom assistant (who took these lovely photos) are still the same, despite Ed now being 17 and in his last year in the French school system. It was very special to me to share my first session with them, and it kind of felt like our life in France had come full circle.

Diary of a Bibliothécaire French Village Diaries Franco/Anglais story time
First words in English - Hello, My Name is, Goodbye

We started by explaining that I was English and then introduced the children to ‘hello’, ‘my name is’ and ‘goodbye’, by doing a little bit of simple acting. We showed them the union flag, a red bus, a red telephone box and a red post box. We spoke of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, followed by London and Big Ben.

Diary of a Bibliothécaire French Village Diaries Franco/Anglais story time
Paddington Bear

I introduced them to Paddington, Rupert the Bear and Winnie the Pooh, and then C introduced them to the Queen and her some of her many hats.

Diary of a Bibliothécaire French Village Diaries Franco/Anglais story time
The Queen and her hat

This moved us nicely onto the book we had chosen to read, The Queen’s Hat, by Steve Antony. C had bought the English version, but it is also available in French, called Saperlipopette, Mon Chapeau ! (which means Woopsy Daisies, My Hat!). You wouldn’t believe the mess my mouth made of the pronunciation of Saperlipopette! I’d love to know if any of you had already come across this gem of a French word?

Diary of a Bibliothécaire French Village Diaries Franco/Anglais story time
The Queen's Hat by Steve Antony

The book sees the Queen and her soldier’s chasing around London after her favourite hat, when it is blown away by the wind. Wearing our ‘Queen’s hats’, C read out our translated French, and I then followed with the English, while the little ones looked at the pictures. The hat eventually lands on a baby in a pram, at Kensington Palace, which was rather apt as our first class was on the same day that Kate and William welcomed baby number three.

Diary of a Bibliothécaire French Village Diaries Franco/Anglais story time
I'm a Little Teapot!

At the very end of the book, the Queen’s butler asks if anyone would like a cup of tea. This was the perfect segue into my debut performance of I’m a Little Teapot, with all the actions, which we followed with The Wheels on the Bus. Happily, I wasn’t judged on my singing voice and the little ones were keen to join in with the actions. It was encouraging to know that something must have gone in, as everyone left saying ‘goodbye’ in their cute French accents.

The planning for these sessions started long before my first day at work, as C was keen to take advantage of my Englishness and use it for the theme of this terms stories. She chose the books we will be reading, but we worked together on what we would say, and what else we would introduce to the children. The British decorations were down to me and we’ve also spent quite some time practising reading the stories aloud to an empty room, to ensure they flow nicely in the two languages. Next week the older children will have a slightly different session, learning about the differences between French and English onomatopoeias. Did you know that French cockerels go cocorico, not cock-a-doodle-doo or that the French for yum, yum is miam, miam? To tie in with this we will read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, where they will hear ‘plaf plouf’ in French and ‘squelch squerch’ in English when walking through the thick, oozy mud. In total we will be seeing 8 classes with children aged from 4 to 10. I just hope the older ones are as kind as the little ones have been so far.

Who knew that being a librarian would be so much fun, and to add to the excitement, this week I’ve also learned how to cover the new books in sticky back plastic. I had feared, that like Paddington, I’d end up in a sticky pickle, but so far, so good. I do hope you enjoyed these photos. 

You can read my previous Diary of a bibliothécaire here, here and here.