Why should my child begin learning a second language early?
Research shows that the earlier a child begins to learn a second language, the greater the chance of increased language proficiency. This is partially due to the general abilities of younger learners and the importance of stimulation at this stage. At a later age, auditory discrimination and the ability to imitate sounds begin to fade. Also, younger learners tend to be less fearful of making mistakes and are more willing to go with the flow of communicating in another language.
Is bilingualism suited for any type of child?
Most of the time, there are no obstacles to learning a second language.
Being bilingual is not a rare situation in the world. In fact, the latest research estimates that half of the world population is bilingual or even multilingual. Developing bilingualism, however, does not mean that abilities are equal in both languages at every stage of language development.
It is difficult for specialists to determine which language is dominant in terms of performance, but researchers agree that while fluency in both languages can be obtained, one of the languages is dominant with regards to cognitive development. The level of fluency in one or more languages is regarded separately from the benefits of bilingual thinking, which is an advantage on its own.
What are some of the different learning processes my child may encounter during the early years at School ?
ebica provides your child with a unique environment, allowing him/her to develop the ability to analyse situations from multiple viewpoints. Their learning will also be genuinely enhanced by the exposure to varying thoughts and methods of approaching situations.
Learners in ebica face two different approaches in methodology within the school day, and the bilingual child learns early how to manage his/her school environment with little intervention.
As with bilingual adults, bilingual children use “code switching” with their two languages.
“Code switching” is switching between languages. This occurs naturally and depends on the audience and purpose of the communication.
Children will apply this same mechanism to their teacher and their environment. In a learning environment that focuses on more than one language, the child learns to use language-specific and culturally appropriate responses progressively through the school years, which enhances the child’s learning experiences.
My child is a French or English native language speaker but in his class he is with other children who are not native speakers. Will this be a problem?
Academic ability is not dependent on linguistic fluency. At ebica, we believe that each child is an individual with specific needs and our class sizes are deliberately small enough to ensure that we can cater for those needs. Effective differentiation means that no child is ever 'held back' or insufficiently challenged because of the needs of another.
My child does not speak English or French. Will it be a problem?
The immersion method of teaching ensures that language acquisition happens naturally over a period of time. Of course, it will be challenging for a child who speaks little or no French or English, but they will certainly develop coping strategies whilst developing the receptive skills of listening and reading. It won't take long before their confidence grows and they begin to move on to the productive skills of writing and speaking the language.
What can you expect during the bilingual learning process?
Young Learners learn a language by using it. Children will memorize words and sentences in the second language, and they will also be able to say a few sentences. Some children speak right away and learn from making mistakes while others take a longer time to express themselves in the second language.
Although, once ready, they speak articulately with few mistakes. Parents can expect the learning process to take several months. It remains an individual process, there is however no reason why your child would not be able to acquire both languages, each at their own time and pace.