Bilingual pupils from a unique Bristol school are the stars of a new album helping children around the world learn French.
Apolline Kirk, Josh Claverie-Paul and Jacques Dondoua made their recording debuts for the Sparkle Speak Classroom Collection, a set of French songs aimed at primary school children.
They also sang backing vocals for Bonjour Milo! Sports Challenge, a musical animation on CD Rom to promote language-learning during the Olympics. So far, discs have been sold to teachers in Britain, France, Canada and the United States.
The young singers are all students at l’Ecole Française de Bristol in Henbury, the only school in the South West where pupils are completely immersed in French language and culture.
Jacques, 11, from Bradley Stoke, said: “I feel really lucky to have had this experience and I’m glad that it’s going to help Anglophone children learn French.”
The children were commissioned by award-winning local company Sparkle Speak, which specialises in musical French resources.
Last year, another French teaching resource created by the firm founded by a stay-at-home Bristol mum was named one of the best children’s products on the market in Britain.
Amazing Milo’s Musical Plays, a series of CD Roms aimed at children aged four to eight, scooped silver at the highly respected Practical Pre-School and 5-7 Awards.
The tiny company behind it, Sparkle Speak, was launched a year ago by writer Ruth Wood, who spends most of her time looking after her three-year-old daughter Mabel.
She said: “It was just amazing working with Jacques, Josh and Apolline. They switch effortlessly between their two languages, so in the recording studio I would give them instructions in English and then they would sing in flawless French.
“It would have been difficult and prohibitively expensive to go over to France and record the songs there, so we feel incredibly lucky to have a school right here on our doorstep where the children are bilingual.”
Apolline, 10, from Chipping Sodbury, said: “It was a really fun experience singing in a studio. I hope the children will like the songs.”
Based in Henbury village hall, the Ecole Française de Bristol was founded in 1980 as a non-profit-making organisation to cater for the children of French-speaking families. It has a full-time nursery and runs primary classes four days a week for some 70 pupils aged four-to-11, who are also partly educated in English-speaking schools.
For more information on the Sparkle Speak Classroom Collection or Bonjour Milo! Sports Challenge see www.sparklespeak.co.uk