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I want my child to learn a second language

Written By: mustikka on November 28, 2009 2 Comments

A young friend of mine is seeking advice:

If a child attends a preschool at 3 and 4 years old where he is exposed to another language but not actively taught it and his native language is used as well, how much outside work will he need to be fluent in the foreign language by kindergarten? Books read to him? Vocabulary work? A tutor? A summer immersion class at 4? (I think 3 might be too young, I don’t know.) All advice and experiences appreciated. Megan

Does that seem like the right question to ask? I guess I’m also wondering how much work is necessary to maintain that language as well without it being forgotten. Would one hour 5 days a week be enough? Hmmm…

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2 Responses to “I want my child to learn a second language”

  1. daveski on: 8 December 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I don’t think so…my niece, who lives in Davis, is getting spoken to in Croatian at least a few hours a day, but without friends and all that kind of support from OTHER people…I don’t know! It’s a challenge, an admirable project, mutta Englanti on niin voimakas…

  2. Jennifer Lowe on: 12 December 2009 at 1:48 am

    Not sure about that. I worked for about a year in a preschool classroom in Berkeley where about half of the students were bilingual/Spanish-speakers. Only one teacher spoke fluent Spanish, and the teachers taught primarily in English. Aside from learning a few songs in Spanish and basic words like “hola” and “gracias” (the only Spanish that was directly taught), my impression was that the English-speakers were not fluent in Spanish by the time they graduated. Of course, regardless of language barriers, some of them had a great knack for knowing exactly how to make the other kids cry… some things just don’t require words.

    There was another classroom, at the same school, that had a similar student population but the teachers actively taught Spanish; it was definitely characterizeable as bilingual. I only sat in on the classroom for one day, but I was impressed that a few of the English-speaker students were able to speak Spanish. Will they retain the language? No idea.

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