Learning German – Food and Culture

What is the old show business saying – never work with children? It has certainly been true for us as poorly children have prevented our lessons taking place for two weeks. A doctor friend of mine once told me that February and March are the months of the year when viruses are at their most prevalent. My seven year old is like a magnet attracting coughs and colds on an almost weekly basis – we look forward to the onset of spring with great enthusiasm.

We were disappointed to miss our lessons as they have become a much anticipated event. We had practised the German ABC song and had plucked up enough courage to sing it for our tutor. It will wait, of course, although I am not sure that it will improve.

Antje came up with a wonderful suggestion as a way of maintaining the children’s interest in the language between lessons. She seems to have an arsenal of great teaching ideas ready to deploy as and when needed. She advised that we bring a little of Germany to our home for a couple of days. The idea was to prevent the children’s enjoyment of the language stagnating and to see the gap as an opportunity to learn about German culture.

  • We decided to find out about some quintessentially German foods. The boys went on a fact finding mission researching what meals were typically German and then looking to see if they could obtain the ingredients in our local area.
  • We ate a variety of German style food for two days. I say style because finding many of the foods proved extremely difficult. We ate bratwurst with mustard (most of which was scraped off by the boys) served with boiled potatoes and carrots. The following day we had frikadellen with coleslaw ( sauerkraut was illusive) and mashed potatoes. German meatballs with potato salad went down extremely well and have been added to the weekly meal list. We also had German ham and cheese with a selection of
  • During mealtimes we listened to various pieces of German music from classical to modern day. This was much more useful than I had anticipated because we all heard German as we listened which helped to familiarise us with the more unusual sounds of the language.
  • We put up some bunting which has the German months of the year printed on it. It makes a fun addition to the dining room as well as being a good learning tool.
  • We attempted to make sauerkraut but learned that red cabbage doesn’t work as well as white so we will refine our skills and try again.

We have taken a lot from our German week. The children have picked up some interesting facts about Germany and have thrown themselves into tasting new foods. There have been opportunities to practice the phrases and words we have learnt to date – the children have retained everything which amazes me. So despite missing out on our much loved German lessons all has not been lost. The suggested activities worked incredibly well keeping the children engaged and proving that Antje really does know her stuff.

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