When I married my American husband I quietly put to rest my childhood dream that my children would be bilingual in French, as I had been. I loved him more than that dream. While my children will not be bilingual in French as I had hoped, they are not without opportunity for language acquisition, and thanks to Whistlefritz they’ve got a little bit of French exposure.
Our family received On Va Jouer (Let’s Play) on DVD for review. It’s a forty-minute DVD completely in French with French subtitles. This means this program teaches by immersion instead of translation. Immersion is a superior method to learn another language because it’s the way our brains are already programmed to learn language — it’s the way we all learned our first language.
I sat in front of the tv with pen and paper, taking notes of my pedagogical observations while watching On Va Jouer with the boys. I noticed a lot of repetition of the important words and phrases. I was pleased because this scaffolds the child’s learning to give them familiarity and confidence. Using examples and non-examples with images, pantomime, and song, children can follow along with the text. And they do. Before long I noticed that my kids were able to respond to some of the questions posed in the video or by me. They were beginning to understand! I was so proud.
The actors in the film speak clearly and keep it light with plenty of giggling. They introduced body parts, clothing, animals, colours, and supporting items, while seamlessly incorporating counting to the mix. That’s a lot of content in 40 minutes! But don’t worry if 40 minutes seems too much intensive learning for your little one. While a smooth go from start to finish I noticed that the concepts are easily broken up by chapters on the DVD, so you could pause and pick up the next concept on a following day.
Having French subtitles to the French spoken word was really effective. It triggers visual as well as auditory learning. Whistlefritz probably does that with their Spanish videos as well but I think it’s especially helpful with the French programming because French conjugates endings that are not spoken but used for grammatical purposes. Being able to learn the word while seeing it will help with that.
Whistlefritz has programming for Spanish as well as French, including DVDs, CDs, lesson plans, and games. They are geared for children ages 2-7. My children topped that recommended age and while they were able to learn from On Va Jouer, they both admitted they’d have liked it better if they were younger. We therefore heartily recommend it for ages 2-7!
I received this DVD free of charge.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.