Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

French for Kids: Dedans et Dehors (Inside and Out)

French for Kids: Dedans et Dehors (Inside and Out)

Spring 2014 DVD
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
DVD Price: $19.99

It might take your brain a moment to adjust to the cognitive dissonance of French lyrics set against Latin American beats, but just go with it. Whistlefritz French for Kids Dedans et Dehors (Inside and Out) mixes music, bright CGI animation, puppets, and live-action elements for a fanciful language lesson aimed at kids two to seven.

This educational DVD features adorable animated mouse Fritzi and smiling human host Marie and takes the total immersion approach to teaching a foreign language. That means there's no English translation at all for the material. The host's body language and voice inflection combine with on-screen text and animated sequences to convey vocabulary for everyday objects and simple concepts about spatial relations (in and out, over and under, etc.). In some sequences, the host converses in brief Q & A format with young children to explain the concepts and the program also includes short video vignettes with kids (most in the preschool and kindergarten age range) at the playground and engaged in familiar activities. These elements all work together to pace the program so it feels more like a cheerful variety show and less like an educational video. Whistlefritz French for Kids Dedans et Dehors (Inside and Out) also includes a bonus short segment (in English) that explains the concept of total language immersion methods.

For all its energy, it will take many repeated viewings before your kids pick up more than the vocabulary words, and jacket copy advises parents and teachers to watch the program with their children to reinforce lessons. This method may not be everyone's preferred way to teach a foreign language, but for parents who favor the total immersion method, Whistlefritz French for Kids Dedans et Dehors (Inside and Out) is a cheerful and lively resource.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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