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Below is a list of activities and outdoor sessions available at the Château. They all provide a perfect situation for students to feel at ease using the French language, and include the learning/practice of verbs, actions, directions, instructions and vocabulary relevant to the immediate environment. They enjoy the activities so much they do not realise just how much they are learning.
As far as possible all sessions are conducted in French, unless otherwise requested and depending on the age and French level of the student. All safety points will also be covered in English if necessary. Most sessions are followed up with a worksheet applicable to the students’ level. All safety equipment is supplied by the centre (e.g. helmets, harness) and sessions are run by our fully qualified and experienced staff.
The Chateau has its very own climbing wall that is suitable for pupils of all ages. After issuing equipment and explaining safety procedures, the students will climb various ‘routes’ on the wall. They will be encouraged to use French commands and will learn the French words for movement, directions and parts of the body.
On location, in the Château’s forest, tasks are set for each group to encourage the students to work together. These team building and problem-solving activities are challenging and fun!
The kayaking is held on our small lake. Simple instructions are given in French and the students will master various skills in a very safe and fun environment. Students should be confident in water, but do not need to be excellent swimmers. Raft building is a team building exercise, where the groups have the task of making their own raft with some ropes, barrels and plenty of patience. Then it’s often ‘off we go, oops and…. splash!’
Students are taught map reading in French using orienteering games and courses in The Chateau grounds. As well as using French language for features, directions and map symbols, the team challenges will involve other aspects of French voacbulary.
This very popular session is held on our purpose built assault course in the Château grounds. Explanations are given in French and pupils repeat action statements before being allowed to do each obstacle. It is ideal for practising popular verbs and the use of prepositions. Usually rather wet and muddy, the students enjoy finishing off the session with a run against the clock and a dip in the river!
Archery takes place on the Château’s own archery range, where pupils get the chance to be Robin Hood for a while. After the obligatory safety talk and explanation of the equipment, students shoot the arrows onto targets - an excellent opportunity to practise French numbers (scores) and directions. All this is followed by a balloon shooting competition.
Fencing takes place at the Château in one of our purpose-built fencing rooms and is an excellent opportunity for students of all ages to learn French in a safe and fun environment, as well as learning about the safety equipment.
Suitable for all ages, bread making is not just a case of making bread it’s also a golden opportunity to practise your singing skills, as we sing French songs whilst we bake! Students will be guided from the beginning with simple instructions; from the measuring of flour to the kneading of the bread, this activity keeps everyone enthusiastic. They will even get to taste the fruits of their hard work as their bread will be baked in time for the evening meal.
In conjunction with the mini-Safari, this activity is designed to enhance the students knowledge of French, whilst enabling them to capture an image from their activity, be it a leaf or a flower or their very own design. With our own dark room we can transport the image onto paper for the students to take away with them.
The circus skills workshop enables pupils to discover the art of Circus at an artistic as well as a technical level. Students are introduced totry their hand at juggling, diabolo and other exercises typical of the circus world, in a fun and educational environment. Spoken French varies a great deal during this activity, and is based on the practise of the words for different tools’ (stick, balls, diabolo…), action verbs (to walk, to move…), directions (left, right, up down…), colours (orange, red, green…) and numbers (1,2,3…).
Aéroballe is a fun, totally unique sport. The trampoline-basketball-volleyball game is suitable for all ages and is played by two teams of 2. Simple instructions are given in French and the students will have the chance to learn/practise the vocabulary for the body parts. It’s also a great opportunity to practise numbers (scoring and counting down the end of the match). Aéroballe is quickly becoming a favourite activity for students and teachers alike!
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Le Château de la Baudonnière: an alternative to a French exchangePublished in the SATIPS Language Broadsheet"For many years, I organised exchange trips to many different areas of France. The trips lasted between three days and two weeks and I took both boys and girls aged between nine and thirteen. The children were all paired with French children of the same age and interests and were given a real insight into French family life. I organised outings during the day, some of them for the English and French children together, others just for the English children. Each year some of the families decided to continue the exchanges and that first school trip was just the beginning of long and very happy friendships, not just between the children, but also between whole families. At my present school there is no history of French exchanges but the Year 7 pupils have the chance to go to an activity centre in France. As these trips have been heavily subsidised by the sch...