In times of migration and globalization parents often come across the necessity for their children to learn a second language. Children of foreign workers, ambassadors and foreign affairs department employees have to adapt to different languages, cultures and surroundings while moving from one country to another.
Bilingual children in the modern world.
One of the main reasons to expose a child to a second language is their ability to pick up vocabulary and develop fluent speech extremely fast at young age. We recommend, however, enrolling into class not before the age of four when the child is already big enough to participate in classroom activities and interact with the teacher.
Another reason for learning a second language, besides the strict necessity, is the fact that it may develop a better understanding and deeper knowledge of one’s mother tongue. Also, memorizing words and songs in a different language improves memory and cognitive capacity. Taking classes from native speaking teachers enables the child to develop pronunciation skills close to those that speak the language in a native way.
How language classes for children should be structured.
Language teachers should be native speakers, qualified teachers mostly with at least elementary school teaching experience. Language classes for children are led in spacious, friendly rooms allowing the children to enjoy the combination of learning through games and songs. At first, the focus comes on verbal communication since the idea is to build confidence by making the child speak and understand the language fluently without struggling with grammar rules at this stage. The main key to success is meeting each child’s needs and developing a personal approach to each student. This is why teachers and course planners follow age guidelines carefully, making sure the gap between the children in the same group is not more than one or two years. Being in a close age group children have a better cooperation, learn faster and have more fun during class.
The classes should be dynamic and energizing and based on “play and learn” approach. Every encounter is full of activities such as dancing, singing, coloring and role playing – all is done in the target language. This is a great opportunity to socialize, make new friends and express oneself in fun and healthy atmosphere.
Raising bilingual children requires tolerance, persistence and creativity. Children patterns of learning are different from those of adults. This is why our programs are developed especially to encourage the interest of our young students; however parents are welcome to watch the classes as well.
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Gabriele is a dedicated language teacher and a language learning article writer.