Bilingual /Multilingual

 

As parents we are very concerned, how we nurture our children. Of course we want the best of the best for our children. As parents one of the important things that stress us in this globalized environment is the requirement to be bilingual or multilingual.

When we arrived in Germany, we wanted our children to learn more than two languages simply because of our Indian ethnicity, born in Britain and living in Germany. Being brought up in these three cultures, we wanted them to thrive in their Indian, British and their newly adopted German culture.

However, we were concerned about many issues such as:

§  How can we contribute to our children´s learning of a second and a third language?

§  What are the best processes of learning more than one language, especially in their early years?

§  Will learning more than one language confuse our children?

§  Do they have to be clever to learn more than one language?

§  Will they be able to cope with more than one language?

Working in multilingual early year’s settings, my research and experiences showed that starting to learn languages at an early age benefits the child and is least stress-full for all. The key fact is that the children should be in an environment where they are constantly hearing, seeing and feeling the second language, as babies and children use all their senses to learn and develop.

Going back to my concerns:

How can I contribute to my children´s learning of a second and third language?

We made the decision to share our languages with our children. As soon as my first child was born my husband spoke English with our son and I spoke Gujarati, a dialect from the Indian state of Gujarat. We continued with this approach with all our children. 

What are the best processes of learning more than one language in early years?

As an early years practitioner this gave me the opportunity to observe and to conduct research on how to support children learning more than one language. Following these observations we created a learning environment which used “Learning through Play” approach to support them in learning a second language.