English is the most popular language that people across the world choose to learn as a second language. It is the “Lingua Franca” that closes gaps and brings people closer. So, you are right in wanting your child to learn English as early as possible and, in this article, we will share with you some tips and ideas that can help you with this.
Studies show that children have a better ability in acquiring more aspects of a foreign language, and find learning a new language easier than adults do and that there is a clear relationship between the age of exposure to a language and a child’s success in learning in that language. Children are great absorbers and imitators, they are not frightened of exploring and trying new things and they are more likely to be able to develop native accents and intonation, and sound like natives when they learn a language early.
1-Practice Language Immersion
Recent research in foreign language teaching has proved that the best way to teach a foreign language is through full immersion. Exactly as a child acquires his or her mother language by listening to it, and using it from when they first start speaking, full immersion works wonders for a foreign language as well. At Blossom Nurseries, we follow the EYFS (Early Year Foundation stage) curriculum, which is the British curriculum, and all teaching at Blossom is carried out in English. Activities are based on the 7 areas of learning under EYFS and are age specific/appropriate. Activities are delivered in English and the explanations, instructions, and conversation relating to these activities are also in English. For non-native-speaking children, we give instructions in English and act out/demonstrate the meaning to help children build their vocabulary and understanding.
2-Use songs and rhymes
Songs and rhymes are an excellent way to teach vocabulary and pronunciation. Children enjoy them and are happy to repeat them many times, therefore practicing the words and phrases they use and building their vocabulary and confidence. At Blossom, we use songs and rhymes as part of our routine activities to help children to learn, practice and build on English words and phrases.
3- Tap into the power of stories
Children love story time and using stories to teach a language is a great way to make language learning fun. At Blossom, storytime is a daily activity that we use to build vocabulary and understanding. Picture books are particularly useful for beginners and younger children as they can be used to link words to pictures.
4- Add more languages
Learning multiple languages increases the child’s linguistic flexibility and makes perfecting languages easier. Research shows that children who are raised multilingual have better memories, develop stronger reasoning and problem-solving skills, and have better focus and attention than unilingual children. Therefore, at Blossom, we have additional lessons for children in French and Arabic.
5- Continuity is key
For children who are not native English speakers, we use repetition and reinforcement to build their vocabulary and understanding.
We advise parents who can speak English themselves to talk in English sometimes with their child, and for older children to ask them what they learned in English at nursery. Also, if children speak in English, praise them and respond in English if you can. If they are not English speakers, parents can simply ask their children in their language, do they know the word for something in English and what they have learned in English. Parents can also easily learn English songs and rhymes with their children and practice them together at home.
In summary, there are many benefits to raising a bilingual, or multilingual, child, and parents should not be afraid of encouraging their early year's child to learn additional languages. And as the most popular second language, encouraging your child to learn English is very much recommended. Do not hesitate to contact your nearest Blossom nursery for more information about how we can help your child in becoming a fluent speaker of English.