French is the third language in the curriculum and is taught from year 5. "Adding a third language to the school's curriculum is very exciting. Being able to communicate in multiple languages and in that way gaining access to other cultures is at the heart of DSM's school model. The third language obviously expands these opportunities," says Florian Dehne, DSM Chairman.
The choice of third language proved to be a difficult one. Florian explains, "When we informally tested preferences for a third language in the DSM community, we discovered a wide range of views. There were arguments for anything from specific European languages to Asian languages and Aboriginal languages. Some European languages are quite prevalent in the school community with a number of trilingual children speaking a third language at home. Arguments for Asian languages were largely based on the geographic location of Australia and also the recognition that Asian languages, Chinese in particular, are expected to become more important in business and trade. Finally, there were arguments for the introduction of an Aboriginal language, clearly reflecting our Australian identity."
In the end, French was selected as the language and was introduced in 2011. A major factor leading to this choice was the need for the school to cater for the needs of families that move between Germany and Australia or within the network of German International Schools. For these families the specific language taught is very important. "Whilst DSM has been primarily set up for 'local' families that are at home in Melbourne, we also want to cater for the internationally mobile. The German school system introduces a third language in year 5. Children who have not studied a third language for 2 years will either not be accepted at the local gymnasium or will have an impossible amount of catch-up to do. Families who are moving into the German system rightly expect that we prepare their children for schooling in Germany and French is by far the most prevalent third language taught there" says Florian. "As the school grows, opportunities to offer further languages will certainly be on the cards." Mais oui!