Thank you for exploring the world of bilingualism with your children! Bilingualism raises your self-esteem. Nothing feels better than the ability to communicate in two languages. It creates a sense of confidence and freedom that affects all aspects of our lives. Furthermore, speaking a second language is no longer an option, but an obligation. It is impossible to survive without speaking both English and Spanish. Conversely, anyone who speaks both Spanish and English fluently is ready to “take over the world”.
The fundamental rule of language acquisition is that the child needs to play in the language in order to develop fluency. Children should learn English naturally, just as they learned their first language; this is why it is so important to use the five senses. These senses are the vehicle through which we learn our first language. The first years of contact with English should be pleasant and fun. Remember, you are opening the doors to life-long learning for your children.
1. Start early! It is important to learn the second language before nine years of age to best facilitate the process. It is easier at this age to acquire the correct pronunciation and gain native-speaker fluency because the muscles of the mouth and tongue are still developing.
2. Parents and children learn together! Nothing is more important in child’s development than role models, in all aspects of life. Studying English alongside your child is the best way to send the message that learning English is important.
3. Watch television in English. Since 2012, all children’s television shows have been available in English. If you want to watch television or movies, watch it in English! Children will be motivated to learn English if they are interested in what is happening on television.
4. Look for fun activities in English to do outside of school. This might include storytelling sessions, parties, trips to an English-speaking country, original-version movies, or even better, a trip to the theater. If their only contact with English involves sitting in a classroom listening to a grammar lesson, they will reject the language.
5. Native speakers. Having a native model for learning a language is crucial if children are going to acquire a correct pronunciation from the beginning.
6. Language learning shouldn’t be a punishment. Punishment should never be used as a means of forcing a child to learn a second language, because this creates fear and anxiety.
7. Qualified teachers. It is extremely important that the person teaching your children is trained as a teacher… and especially important that they are trained in language teaching. Just because someone speaks English, even as a native speaker, does not mean that they are qualified to teach English.
I firmly believe that we are creating a better world through your children. We are changing lives at English for Fun and we take our work very seriously. We are a team (family, school, English for Fun). Thank you all for your support!
Founder and Leader – English for Fun