T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 29804
posted 01-24-2007 11:09 AM
A couple of years ago a teacher was telling me about how since birth we are speaking. And how that when we're infants, the sounds we are exposed to and the sounds we mimic are the ones that we will carry with us into adulthood. One of the better examples of this is the tounge rolling of r's in spanish. If you heard that sound as a baby you can probably make the sound when you're an adult, but if you did not hear that sound, you most likely can't make the sound now.
My teacher also said how if you want your baby to be successful with picking up multiple languages in adulthood, expose them now. Common sense is all it really is, but I never would have thought about it until she told me these things. So before Amelia was born we purchased some videos from the 'Bilingual Baby' series of tapes. Now, the video has pictuers and text, which, I'm pretty sure Amelia can't see yet. But it is compeltely in the other language, no english is spoken. I think it's a great way to immerse her in a different language. I understand that she won't learn it, but I trust that it will help her in the future if she ever wants to learn a language. Has anyone else done anything to jump-start their child's language development?
Member # 8067
posted 01-24-2007 11:32 AM
Well, don't forget first-language development
. That's the key building block for pretty much everything else. And the crucial thing for jump-starting that is just interacting with her - playing with her, talking to her, singing, playing games and so on. Educational videos can be fine for short periods, but they're not a substitute for learning through interaction. You probably know that already, of course. But it's sometimes easy to get sucked into the idea that your job as a parent is to buy all sorts of products to try to "accelerate" your kid's development, and under-rate the value of doing the ordinary everyday stuff attentively and thoughtfully. If you're interested in reading up, "BabyTalk" by Sally Ward is a great book by a speech and language expert on everything you can do to support Amelia's language development over the next few years.
Member # 25425
posted 01-24-2007 12:04 PM
I know you've still got a couple years to go 'till then, but have you thought about looking into bilingual/international Kindergartens and schools? They're really the best way to expose a child to different cultures and languages. I went to several multi-lingual schools in my time and I work at one now, and we've really got three-year-olds we can communicate with in three or more languages. Even if they go on to 'regular' schools and don't get to use the languages in their home, it still makes it so much easier for them to learn foreign languages later on.
Member # 25983
posted 01-24-2007 03:52 PM
I'd agree that the best method here is probably to interact with Amelia one on one. Nothing beats human interaction when teaching young children anything. Study up on a language you want to speak; then you can learn together!
I don't know where I found it, but there were a couple studies showing that educational videos and programs can actually do more harm than good, can contribute to ADHD/ADD, and lower the child's attention span in traditional learning enviornments. I wouldn't call that reason enough to throw them all out, but like logic said, moderation is key, and human interaction should come first.
Member # 29804
posted 01-25-2007 09:07 AM
I'm kind of insulted that you all imply that I don't know to interact with her one on one. I don't want you to think I'm neglecting her. It's not like I'm placing her down on the couch and letting a video teach her, while I completely neglect her english learning and bonding-time with me. Just because I'm not stating everything I do with her it does not mean I don't do it.
And I read something about videos and ADHD too... But it's not the cause of it. If the child does have ADHD or a learning problem showing them videos could possibly make the condition worse. September, I've never heard of a multilingual school, but it does sound interesting. I'm not aware of any in my area, but I sure will look into it. Care to share where these schools were?
Member # 25983
posted 01-25-2007 10:15 AM
That wasn't my intention at all, John. I'm sorry if it came off that way.
I was simply saying that the best way for your kid to learn any language, be it first, second, or third, is to speak it yourself, and find ways to be creative and interactive.
Member # 8067
posted 01-25-2007 10:36 AM
I'm kind of insulted that you all imply that I don't know to interact with her one on one. Sorry if it came across that way, but that was really not my intention - in fact, that's why I said that you probably knew this stuff already. The point is that if you're spending as much quality time interacting with her as you can, you're already "jump-starting" her about as much as any kid can be jump-started . Videos can be fun, but they're a lot less valuable than the sort of interaction that you're doing. (And I recommended the book not because I think you're clueless but because it has really detailed information about language development at different ages, and has a lot of smart advice which isn't just covered by common sense. So if you're interested in the subject, it's a fascinating read.)
Member # 25425
posted 01-25-2007 11:19 AM
International/bilingual schools are usually in or near larger cities, where lots of people from non-english speaking countries are likely to live due to being transfered by their employer. Most of the instruction would be done in English, but there will be special emphasis placed on certain foreign languages (mostly Spanish and French) and full immersion with mother-tongue teachers.
You can easily find them by looking up schools in your area in the yellow pages. (Do be aware that they tend to be private schools and can be a bit pricey with their tuition.)
Member # 27966
posted 01-25-2007 11:46 AM
It's interesting, the difference between the reasoning behind bilingual schools in the states and in Canada (at least where I am)... they're not so much for new immigrants as much as they're for people who would like their children to keep in touch with the family's culture or who would like their children to experience a more culturally diverse education. That, and we have tons of French Immersion schools everywhere as (duh) it's one of our official languages
Member # 3
posted 01-25-2007 12:52 PM
Honestly? As a former early child educator, I think you're overthinking all of this.
Call me a big ol'hippie, but babies don't need videos or any of this stuff. You say you walk her around a lot, well, walk her in neighborhoods with a good language mix if you want some multilingual exposure. Or, learn a new one yourself and speak it around her. Or don't sweat any of this at all, and just think about it when it's time for early childhood ed (FYI, when it's time, most Montessori schools incorporporate language into 3-6 programs, some even into their toddler programs: in both New York City and New York State, there are Montessori's abound. Plus, again, if your kid is simply in fairly diverse environments with kids who are from all backgrounds, they'll get exposure to other languages without even trying). I know it's scary to be a new parent, but really, babies all in all, do just fine with pretty normal, daily-life stuff. I also feel like maybe you or both of you could benefit from some other parenting communities, since this isn't really our schtick here, and because it IS scary to be a new parent. have you looked, for instance, at Girl-Mom? Or Hip Mama? Or table Talk at salon.com in the parenting sections? If not, have a lookie around: I think you'll find that it really helps to have other relaxed parents to talk to and other new parents to talk to.
Member # 22137
posted 01-25-2007 04:42 PM
I agree with heather. I am studying child language acquisition right now. The best way we've found so far is simply to play with your daughter, talk to her conversationally even if she doesn't reply and when she does start to reply encourage her answers. Also what heather said about multi-lingual areas sounds like a good idea, as does learning a language yourself and practising it around her. I talk to my cousin's babies in irish and french and i know alot of my foreign language teachers talk to their kids and grandkids in other languages, but be aware they only do this once theyre sure that baby is also picking up english or the home's first language as that is the most important one for school and later life. Vary what language you talk in might be an idea also. of course you know all this already but honestly just playing and talking to her is the best start in language you can give her.