Important information for parents
Do you want your child to be bilingual?
It is important to understand the challenges and the process of learning a second language, so we can make the right choice as a parent and as a supporter of our child's new journey.
How do we teach our classes and why?
Students learn new vocabulary and sentence structure using small felt figures, gestures, songs, games, and hands-on activities. These activities have been piloted with positive results on children for many years, once-per-week session giving us astonishing results with the students who stay in the program for at least one year.
This method of vocabulary learning turns classroom into a positive and fun learning experience. It follows the natural approach to learning a second language by providing the students with real-life experiences geared to learning vocabulary in a meaningful context, making language both more significant and more memorable. It also encourages the students to be active, enthusiastic and animated. Materials are presented in a simple comprehensible way.
The first activity is the introduction of new vocabulary with flashcards, felt animals, or toys. This activity promotes forming a mental picture of what it is said. Students learn from the very beginning to think in the foreign language; thus, avoiding translation. Then, the teacher asks the students to repeat the vocabulary and later integrates the same vocabulary in a song. The second activity consists of games. The teacher has at least three different games that relate to the same theme. The third activity involves children working individually doing exercises with paper, crayons, glue, and/or scissors.
This communicative approach provides a language-learning environment free of anxiety.
Since our students learn using felt figures, gestures, songs, games, and hands-on activities, the mix-aged classes is not a problem. Our teachers are trained to challenge every single student at their own level. Our goal is for the students to develop their hearing, understanding, and pronunciation of the new language, not to teach them grammar.
Stages of learning a second language
It takes many years to learn a second language. Children will not be bilingual with once-a-week class nor can be considered advanced level. What we are trying to accomplish at WLI is opening the window of learning a second language. According to the Critical Period Hypothesis, children have from early infancy until puberty to learn a second language as if it was their first language. Read more
The Brain and Language Acquisition
"The "window of opportunity" idea is widely accepted. Here is a very simplified explanation: From birth until puberty, the brain literally formats itself to perform various specialized functions, such as language, based upon the input it gets from the world. Neural networks gradually form, and they function more and more efficiently as they are used. If a second language is part of that input, networks for understanding and using it grow richer. Therefore, early exposure to a second language actually causes more connections to grow in a child's brain, and those connections, in turn, allow for easier additional learning in the second and first languages.
This "formatting" process, especially active in the first six years, ends at puberty, or around age 12, and the brain begins to shed connections it no longer uses. The capacity to distinguish and make sounds not encountered in languages the child speaks diminishes or disappears." Read the full article
Give your child enough time to adjust to a foreign language classroom
"Students suffering from foreign language anxiety report feeling apprehension, worry and dread, sometimes to the extent that they must take several deep breaths to muster the courage to walk into a foreign language classroom." Read more
Raising Bilingual children
What Are the Benefits of Knowing a Second Language?
In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with more people, children may derive other benefits from early language instruction, including an improved overall school performance and superior problem-solving skills. Knowing a second language ultimately provides a competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up additional job opportunities. A second language:
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