Tots learn love of languagesthrough song and music

A love of languages was begun for Charlotte Hatcher while studying at Millais School and Collyer's in Horsham and now she is passing that passion on to tiny tots..
charlotte hatchercharlotte hatcher
charlotte hatcher

Charlotte, 32, runs foreign language classes for pre-school aged children where they learn French or Spanish mainly through singing while playing with musical instruments.

“It gets children introduced to languages at an early age and it’s fun,” said Charlotte, who has a daughter aged two and lives in Horsham. “It helps with communication, they are much more likely to absorb it at an age when they are very open to everything around them.”

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The lessons at Trafalgar Road Baptist Church began last month focusing on food. And the children catch on quickly. Charlotte said: “What works well is having nursery rhymes and songs that they recognise in English and they get to choose one to sing in French or Spanish. They remember the song and can do all the actions.

“We do a story in the middle and it is a book they already know, they love that. Last term this was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and it gave them chance to say all the different fruits, vegetables and cakes they had been learning.”

The Monday classes are 45 minutes long with French at 9.30am and Spanish at 10.45. Most children do one language as concentration can be an issue. Charlotte said: “I am relaxed about it because I know their attention will wander.”

The busy mum works as a conference interpreter at the EU in Brussels and is a teaching fellow at the University of Bath.

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After A-levels she took a degree in French and Hispanic studies at the University of Nottingham followed by three years in Paris studying for a European Masters in Conference Interpreting at the elite Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Charlotte said: “I really like bringing languages to as many people as possible.”

Classes cost £6.50 each with discounts for half-termly bookings. They are for tots aged 18 months to four, but younger kids are welcome. For more information go to singingspanish

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