As a foreign kindergarten teacher
between the ages of two and five I know there are a variety of ways children
learn and can be taught a new language. Learning a new language at this early age is beneficial in many ways to children
. There are many other methods that have been developed for teaching language to children
; one method is Total Physical Response (TPR). Our school uses language immersion to teach its students.
The benefits of learning a new language at a young age are huge. Scientific research has proven that children
who have learned a second language have denser brain tissue resulting in higher test scores and better reading skills than children
knowing only one language. Learning young also gives children
the opportunity to develop an authentic accent in english
are much more perceptive at hearing differences in tones and are able to mimic them much better than teens or adults. Learning another language can also bring a greater understanding of a child's native one. Learning how a new language works often brings about curiosity and insight into their native one. Another benefit is more career and college opportunities. Second languages; especially the knowledge of english
are highly sought after. english
speakers have an advantage over non-speakers of finding a job and being admitted into colleges.
Total Physical Response is a method of teaching that mimics the way in which the child learned his native language. Students are encouraged to physically respond to words used by the teacher
. Simon Says is a great game that can be used because it links movement and words together. Kindergarteners are very active and enjoy moving around and playing games, because of this TPR is very effective in teaching young children
. This method of teaching together with the immersion program is great for young children
. It keeps them involved and interested during the day.
In our preschool classroom only english
is spoken to the children
throughout the day; this is called language immersion. When first introduced to this method the child will insist on using their native language; even if they aren't understood. After some time the child will then go through a silent period, this is when the child realizes that the language they are using is not being understood. During this time they will spend a lot more time observing and non-verbally communicating. When the child has gained some confidence he will start to form simple sentences by pairing together a few words. After some time the child's sentences will become longer and he will talk more often. Eventually his grammar and understanding of the new language will improve and he will be able to use it much more effectively.
Overall, learning a second language is very important to children
. They tend to pick up the language faster and more naturally than adults. It is scientifically proven to aid in brain development aiding in cognitive development and paving the road for a successful career. It is important to remember to keep the classroom a fun and interesting place. This aids in the learning and acquisition of new vocabulary by making the child feel confident and comfortable in his surroundings. I highly recommend teaching your child at a young age to ensure thorough acquisition of the new language and a head start in learning.