“Remember: be yourselves what you would have your children be”
– Mary Sumner, founder of The Mothers’ Union
The above quotation, from Jason’s great-great-great grandmother, is the cornerstone of our family practice and the essence of KinKids.
Hello from Jason and Kasia Beacon – your family hosts and owners of Fialeix! We are qualified teachers and parents with 4 children who are educated in local schools and hence bilingual. Between us we have a wealth of teaching experience, a love of languages (combined we get around in English, French, Italian, Russian, some German and a smattering of Uzbek) and a love of nature. We are experienced hosts of educational, creative and artisan courses having run a variety of workshops and retreats in both Italy and France. Naturally curious ourselves, we want to inspire children to discover new interests alongside their new language, including gardening, music, storytelling, crafts, beekeeping, animal care, physical and mental health, mindfulness, cooking and camping.
Our native French teachers are by turns academic, creative and playful in their approach. They are energetic, motivated, compassionate and curious in their own right, traits which they transmit to the children. Above all, they are experienced and themselves life-long learners with a passion for language.
THE KIN TEAM
"I am qualified in the academic world as a secondary teacher with a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology. My richest learning platform, however, comes from being a mother of 4, and from classrooms around the world, principally in Italy where I founded and ran my own school. I have taught in many schools both in UK and abroad, in businesses and in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal."
"Experience has shown me that learning for kids must be fun, it must be kinaesthetic and it must be appropriate to the learner’s needs. Learners need to be engaged. Some of these vital ingredients are left out of the busy school schedule. Now, with our own farm in France where we run other creative courses such as leather making and guitar making, we realise how the rich natural environment creates the perfect backdrop for learning a foreign language. Learning through nature, engaging curiosity and creativity, helps shape the language and encourages children to want to communicate more, building confidence and enjoyment."
Kasia's role is Chef Mama. She will stay in English and be the main English portal for the children when necessary, but respond in French when they wish to use it.She is still finding her own way in French and will herself be a constant student.
"The children will hear me saying ‘Est-ce que c’est?’ and ‘Comment se dit en francais?’ demonstrating that it’s okay to not know, and is productive to ask and be curious, whilst modelling ways to question in French."
"I have a lifelong love of languages. I have taught and worked in a number of countries and am now happily settled in my first foreign love, France. As a writer and editor I have managed content B2B for global companies, and also run an award-winning independent press, Guerilla Books."
Jason has hosted many courses and retreats in Italy at the family’s villa, and managed a restaurant in the heart of the Tuscan capital, Florence: "Kasia and myself noticed that non-Italian waiters fresh from abroad mastered the language in under 6 months, whilst foreign students paying a fortune for swanky courses were still struggling to order their lunch. The lesson? We learn language faster and better when immersed and through engaged activity. That your livelihood depends on it is no doubt also an incentive, though perhaps we'll hold off on that till the kids are in their late teens!"
Jason is in charge of safety, camping & facilities, the atelier, morning and evening exercise and meditation/mindfulness practice, overseeing the forest school and chopping wood. He will speak with the children in French throughout, whilst supporting our native teachers. Like Asterix’s bard, if not restrained he will also lead the children of an evening in Gallic songs beneath the stars.
Tri-lingual (native French with fluent English and Spanish) we are extremely fortunate to have found Mighun through our local school, where one of her sons is a pupil. An ‘Earth Mother’ with great compassion, a radiant smile and an intuitive awareness of what children need, she works as a translator for various organisations and is also an adherent to the Good Life, with dozens of chickens, an organic garden and regular shifts in the local apple industry.
"You can learn so much in the classroom, but for the children to really adopt a language they have to be excited by it, immersed in it, and play with it. What better place to create memories, for language and friendship, than in the middle of nature?"
Patient and experienced (Mighun has 5 children under her own care), she uses the fundamental linguistic structures, repeating and inviting response and engagement throughout the given activity, until the child’s foundation is established.