Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will my child become confused by introducing a second language?
A: No. Children all over the world learn multiple languages simultaneously, and there is no research attesting to any confusion. On the contrary, the earlier foreign sounds and words are introduced the more easily assimilated they become.
Q: Will my child Lag Behind Their Peers?
A: No. This is a common apprehension for new parents. But in fact, some studies show that bilingual children are better able to focus their attention on relevant information and ignore distractions.
In fact, bilingual individuals have been shown to be more creative and better at planning and solving complex problems than monolinguals. (1,2)
Even more resent studies have reflected diminished effects of aging on the brain of bilingual adults! One study claims, delayed onset of dementia by 4 years in bilinguals in relation to monolinguals with dementia. (3, 2)
And let's face it. Bilingual individuals have greater reach to resources and to making connections with people around the world. (4)
So though it has been suggested that a temporary lag may stem from having to accommodate two language systems within the same brain, these children catch up within a few months. However, more research is needed to understand the exact mechanisms that are responsible.
Q: WHAT AGE IS THE BEST TO INTRODUCE A NEW LANGUAGE?
A: The earlier the better. Research has proven that there is a critical period for language acquisition in all mammals. A baby bird, for instance, who is separated from her mother and does not learn to sing the proper love songs will not thrive in the wild. Our babies recognize their mother's voice at birth, having listened to her sounds in the womb. At less than two years, a baby has lost the ability to discern sounds that he/she is not exposed to, i.e. monolingual English speakers cannot discern the differences in the various and numerous sounds produced by the letter "U" in the French language (Kotulak, 1996).
Q: What is the most effective way to introduce and learn a new language?
A: In person. Thus, we advocate getting involved! Create your own style of class with your child. Play with the sounds, lose your inhibition (even if you don't pronounce things perfectly, you are still offering your child a new range of sounds), sing along with the CD in your car. Model and have fun with a new language, so as to pave the road for your child.
While immersion is always the most effective way to learn a new language, it is not always an option. Thus, the second best alternative is person to person communication. Our classes offer an environment with personalized attention, where a relationship and rapport are created amongst the other children and their caregivers and the instructor. In this way, a safety zone is created that allows children to play with their tongues and their mouths in creating the new sounds and words of another language. So don't hesitate to sing along with the music and your child whenever you have the opportunity ... chances are that it won't be long before your little one is mimicking you!
Q: What is so great about this MUSIC?
A: It is simple. It is clear. And it is repetitive. It was designed with your child in mind by an anthropologist and educator with two little loves at her side. The lyrics were specifically created to be easily worked into the lives of young children in a fun and playful manner, so that they learn to say in a new language what would naturally come out of their mouth in their native tongue. It is an organic and modern approach that keeps learning child-centered and content relevant.
- Center for Applied Linguistics. Benefits of being bilingual. Available online:http://www.cal.org/earlylang/benefits/marcos.html
- Paradis, J., Genesee, F., & Crago, M. (2011). Dual Language Development and Disorders: A handbook on bilingualism & second language learning. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
- Canadian Council on Learning (2008). Parlez-vous français? The advantages of bilingualism in Canada. Available online: http://www.ccl-cca.ca/pdfs/LessonsInLearning/Oct-16-08-The-advantages-of-bilingualism.pdf
- Center for Applied Linguistics. Benefits of being bilingual. Available online: http://www.cal.org/earlylang/benefits/marcos.html
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