CHANGING THE WAY KIDS
Is it confusing for children to learn a second language while they are learning their first one?
Absolutely not! On the contrary, children should start on the second language simultaneously as their first one. When the brain is geared to pick up one language, it can pick up several at the same time! They will compartmentalize them effortlessly.
Does my child have to have any background in the language before going into a full immersion program like yours?
Not at all. Full immersion programs like ours take children through the process of language acquisition step-by-step. The teachers fully apply all the strategies involved in teaching a child a second language in a full immersion/content based program. However, it’s very important for parents to provide their children with as many opportunities to hear the target language as possible. You can play songs in the target language while in the car, change the DVD language on movies to the target language at least twice a week, and most importantly, network with other parents in your child’s class so that your child gets to have other friends who are engaged in the same process.
How many times per week should my child attend classes?
Your child should be immersed in as much language as possible. The more the better; there is a clear link between the process of a language and the time the child spends engaged in that language. The more often the child gets the opportunity to hear and interact in the target language, the faster the “process” of their language development and the more obvious the progress is to their parents’ eyes and ears!
Should I start my child early in a second language?
Absolutely! Immersing your child in the correct language environment at a young age means that not only your child picks up a new language fast but also as a result of optimum brain stimulation, your child ends up more intelligent and becomes a more rounded individual being. Children s brain develops alongside the development of the language they are processing.
How long should I wait before adding a second foreign language?
It is recommended that children be immersed for 6 months at first in their second language before adding a third one. The initial process and adjustment that they go through with their new language will be spared with the third one.
How long should I wait before introducing a third language to our child?
I would say six months but it does depend on how fast the child is processing his or her second language. Remember that the process of the language is directly related to the time the child spends engaged in the language.
Why does my child gets very tired after their language classes?
Remember that the process your child is going through is very cognitive and highly stimulating. Your child is using all of their senses in order to make sense of this new environment by actively helping shape their own brain development. Make sure you balance this program with play group activities and physical activities.
Both parents speak a foreign language at home. Does Lingua Natal have any programs for my child who already speaks the language?
Of course! If your child is between 1 and 4 years of age, they would enter our Hummingbirds, Doves, Swans, Nightingales, or Eagles classes. In these classes, we have about half language speakers and half children learning to speak the language. Since the classes are age and skill appropriate, all children fit in the environment. The themes we follow in these classrooms are the same as the ones at English speaking nurseries and preschools.
Children 5 years and up who already speak the language are placed in our Bilingual Track Program. Children are tested to see what level they fit in best. Our students continue their language development through mediums of Natural Sciences, Geography and Social Studies.
Students who start early with us will be learning to read and write in their second/third language alongside the reading and writing development of their native language at school.
How will I know if my child is making progress?
Each child’s ability in the area of foreign language acquisition is unique. While all children will actively participate in our “controlled language environments”, they will not volunteer to demonstrate their progress orally to their parents, family, friends, or family relatives for a long time.
Some of our fluent children will not volunteer to communicate in the foreign language with their parents; this is simply due to the fact that the language of communication and bonding between them has always been in English or another language.
These same children, of course, when visiting another country such as Mexico, Canada, or France, will surprise their parents.
Why does my child say they cannot remember what they learned in the language class today?
“Recall” or “knowledge” is not among the first steps in the process of language acquisition, but “comprehension” is. We should not expect any conscious “knowledge” in the primary stages of language development.
Why doesn’t my child receive homework?
We do not give homework in the Fundamentals Track stage since there is no required reading or writing as part of the first stage of language acquisition. The emphasis in the beginning is to help the students to comprehend the spoken language and make associations between the spoken language with concrete objects and visuals.
It is in the Bilingual Track stage that the students reach the “Speech” level and consequently and naturally start remembering words, phrases, sentences, and even start making their own simple or complex sentences. Since “Reading” is then added to the student’s curriculum, we ask that students read certain books and articles at home as homework.
Once the students are writing in the higher levels of Bilingual Track, they will work on their reports for homework.
How should I work with my child in acquiring foreign language skills at home?
The best way is to surround your child with the language! Cultivate personal friendships with native speakers and their children. If possible, travel to countries where the language is spoken.