Dragons Today Summer 2014.indd - page 5

D R A G O N S T O D A Y . s u m m e r 2 0 1 4
with our visiting French exchange partners
adding in a little authenticity. Pupils run a
French café, play Boules and take part in
some traditional French dances throughout
the morning which has been running for
many years.
What level do the children
reach when they leave
the Dragon?
Pupils naturally achieve different levels of
French during their time at the Dragon but
our aim is for all pupils to achieve fluency
at their own level. Whether this means they
are confident to order food or buy tickets in
France or whether they can conjugate verbs
in eight different tenses depends on the
individual. An ever increasing number
of scholarships and awards to Senior
Schools are won each year and the
majority of pupils achieving these have
included one or more language in their
options, requiring them to reach a very
high level of competence in all four skills
of listening, reading, writing and speaking
in the Target Language.
Which languages can the
children learn here?
French is taught at Lynams to everyone
in Years 1-3. Each class has a thirty five
minute lesson once a week. Year 1 is
exclusively spoken French, and then in
Years 2 and 3 a very limited amount of
reading and writing is introduced. The
emphasis is on learning through fun
activities including singing, drama, role-
plays, ICT and playground games. The
children follow a Lynams scheme of
work and in Year 3 the work is based on
preparing the children for E Block. The E
Block vocabulary book is used as a point
of reference for Year 3 teaching.
All pupils at the Bardwell Road site learn
French from the beginning of E Block until
the end of A Block. Spanish and German
are offered to pupils in the Upper School
who have shown an aptitude for languages
in C Block. These are intensive courses
that take pupils from absolute beginners to
Common Entrance or Scholarship in the
two years of the Upper School. In addition,
pupils also have the opportunity to learn
Japanese or Mandarin with private tutors
and can now choose Mandarin as a subject
for Common Entrance exams.
From the Headmaster
The final moments of a Dragon Sports Day
are extraordinary. Through the genius of
organisation, we are left with the A Block
(Year 8) in front of the swimming pool,
awaiting the presentation of the Sports Day
and Skipper Shields. All the other Years
have left for their summer holidays and it
is now time for the leavers to say their
goodbyes, depart the Dragon and move on.
The previous week has seen a number of
events which has allowed them to say goodbye
to their school, their teachers and their friends
in a way I like to describe as “the door closing
with a gentle click”: Prize Giving, the Leavers’
Service, the A Block Revue, Curtain Call,
Punting Parties and BBQs, House Suppers
and Sing Song. But now – this is the moment
when they must leave.
It takes a long time, but eventually they find
a way to leave. There are tears – lots of tears –
and bemused parents looking on, wondering
quite when they will be able to start the journey
home. And I stand there – shaking hands,
accepting hugs and saying good luck, thank
you and goodbye.
I am not ashamed to say that I also find it
hard. These are young people that I have seen
grow up since early childhood and during our
journey together I have grown very fond of
them. (I tell them that but I’m not quite sure
they believe me.) Each year I wonder what the
school will be like without them but I know that
the natural order of things will be established in
September when they are on a new adventure
and Dragons return to step into their shoes.
I am about to write a card to each of last
year’s leavers to wish them well in the future
and thank them for all they have done for the
Dragon. I hope they keep in touch, but
if they don’t, I hope they will always retain
fond memories of their time here and the
friendships they found.
As they say, “You can take a child out of
the Dragon – but you can’t take the Dragon
out of a child”.
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