Most parents are keen to teach their child a second language as they are aware of the significant social, academic and cultural benefits.
When you start a language with your baby or young child, you are embarking on a rewarding journey. However, many parents do not know how to go about it. Every journey needs a first step…
Here British Mum Nicki gives us her insights into taking the decision to teach her child, Elodie, French.
“Salut Nicki! Thank you for talking to us about your language journey with Elodie! Many parents will be interested to hear how you have approached teaching your child French.”
What is you and your partner’s French experience?
My grandmother was French and my uncle settled and married in France so I have French cousins. I have been fortunate to experience French language and culture since a child but I’ve never been all that confident speaking. I was always fearful of making mistakes. My husband’s father was a French teacher but the interest for language didn’t quite reach him! He is very enthusiastic regarding French wine and food
What were the main reasons that led you to think about starting a language with Elodie?
I wanted Elodie to be familiar with the French language whilst growing up so it is part of her being, rather than learning it as a second language when she is older at school and she perhaps not relating to it so much. I was aware there is a prime age for introducing a second language with children so I was keen to start young.
What age did Elodie join Mini French?
Elodie attended Mini French for the first time when she was 7 months old. She is now 2 and half and we have attended since as I know she enjoys it and it is so beneficial.
What other activities or daily French do you use?
I have subscribed to a French mail order book company and so I read her a French book every evening alongside her English storybooks. We have a little French corner at home with her books, flash cards, posters and some speaking toys. I don’t necessarily talk to her in French sentences much but I do actively try to teach individual words such as colours, body parts, animals and items food.
What do you like about the Mini French programme and ethos?
Mini French is fun and stimulating. The children are learning all the time with song, repetition and props to reinforce the new words in a relaxed and informal way. The CDs are great to listen to in the car for a singalong too. It’s all very user
Did you have any reservations before you started?
I was concerned that it might be confusing to attend a French class when she was so young. I read up on it and there was some negativity saying it may confuse her and delay her English. However, I now realise these views are dated. Current research shows that babies and children can quickly recognise the different sounds of different languages. There is no harm or risk and it can only be beneficial to brain and language development.
How does Elodie react in the sessions?
Elodie is always keen to attend the sessions. She is engaged in them and is now singing the songs. I can completely see that our attendance over the past two years has been effective, she can sing so many of the songs and recognise many words.
At the moment her favourite song is ‘Un petit pouce qui marche’ but it regularly changes and will be something different next month!
I have absolutely no concerns regarding a second language at a young age.
What are your hopes for Elodie’s language journey in the future?
I hope to continue to expose Elodie to the French language. I hope to continue attending Mini French progressing on to the Academy, and reinforcing it as much as I can at home and with singing, talking and reading.
What would you say to parents thinking of starting a language with their children?
I have absolutely no concerns regarding a second language at a young age. I am really glad we found Mini French. I believe it has given Elodie a fantastic opportunity to experience another language at such a receptive age. It is fun, stimulating and engaging and I feel it will give her a great start in languages which is something as a nation we do not excel at yet is so important. Attending the class weekly also encourages me to use French words with her and keeps me motivated to do so, exercising my brain too.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us! I totally agree with your views on starting a language at a young age. Most importantly, I am glad that you are having fun with it all!”
So there we go! A Mum’s personal experience of teaching her young child the foundations of a second language. You can do it! Mini Languages has the resources to help you. Look our for local classes or join the waiting list for the Membership platfo