MFL: Year 7 Return From 'Beret' Busy French Trip

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Bede’s Prep School’s annual Year 7 French Trip recently returned from Normandy in northern France, with the children having immersed themselves in all things French – quite literally, in some cases!

After an uneventful journey to, and a good night’s sleep at, the Château de la Baudonnière, the group were woken by the resident peacock and enjoyed a quick breakfast before engaging in activities including making photograms, practising circus skills and cider-making, all in French.

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The afternoon then saw everyone making bread before playing basketball, football or table tennis before their evening meal.

Day two saw the children playing surprise games involving flour, a hose pipe, sand, some cones and two instructors dressed in wet suits, all of which led to some very messy outcomes, before making the short journey to Villedieu.

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Once in town, the children put their spoken French into practice at the local market, purchasing bonbons, cheap jewellery and haggled-down hats; barter-master Isaiah was duly crowned the King of the Bling!

Après le déjeuner, half the group donned their climbing gear and were challenged to ascend the château's climbing wall. Some children were highly successful ringing the bell which was located at the top of the tower whilst others enjoyed "just hanging around".

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Meanwhile, the other group had a French lesson which involved geographical locations in France and played games based on Normandy. This was then followed by a short walk into the woods to follow in the footsteps of Robin Hood.

Archery was the name of the game, although judging by their ability to hit the target some members of the group ought to spend a little more time in Archery Club!

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The third day of the trip commenced with some French lessons and aeroball, the latter of which proved very popular with the children. After lunch, some children went to archery whilst others set to the château's lake in canoes.

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In the evening, the children then had the opportunity to dress up in typical French costumes. It's amazing how great minds think alike, thus almost everyone turned up in blue and white striped t-shirts, berets, and moustaches!

Keeping with tradition, children were also treated to a surprise dinner that included escargots (which many of the children were brave enough to sample) before they played a number of fun games including apple bobbing and Wellington boot throwing.

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The day after saw the children learning to fence, with George and Emily excelling in the competition, after which the group decamped to the château's mini farm where the children fed and stroked the animals, learning their French names and about their habitats.

Then came one of the highlights of the whole trip: the mud-drenched assault course!

The children were required to commando-crawl under netting, slide into mud baths and traverse obstacles before completing the course with a Tarzan-style swing to get across the stream.

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Needless to say most ended up in the stream, although three were successful in getting to the other side!

Having had a hose down at the end of the session and a lovely barbecue, the day concluded with a "Spectacle Final" where all the schools staying at the château came together to demonstrate their talents.

All credit must go to Charlotte and Maddie who sang so beautifully without accompaniment and had the whole audience in awe.

When the time came for our group number, we performed our rendition of "Hey Everybody" and, although not our finest performance, the team did well to entertain the troops and a good laugh was had by all.

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On their final day, the children either spent some time canoeing or climbing before boarding the bus and heading to "la plage."

Being a bank holiday weekend, the beach was very busy but we managed to claim a bit of sand and set up a game of volleyball and football before cooling down with "une glace." The sun, sand and sea were the perfect picture postcard and it really felt like we were on "vacances d'été."

Once we had exhausted ourselves at the beach, it was back on the bus for a short trip to the supermarket before returning to the château to pack and enjoy our final activity – a treasure hunt through the château's grounds.

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With the week over and the excursion now complete, Mr Meier and I are very proud of the efforts the children made to immerse themselves in the language, and of the way their comprehension of given instructions improved markedly throughout the week.

Well done to them all!

 

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