Baby Arabia is a new approach to multi-lingual learning and enjoyment for preschoolers and their caregivers. The principle is that by introducing a foreign language through play children will be more inclined to understand and adopt that language when it is formally introduced in a classroom setting. Today, Kidz Venture sits down with Nadia, the founder of Baby Arabia, to explore more deeply the benefits of learning language through play.
At what age should a child start language class?
A child can attend our classes as young as 6 months. There is, however, a big difference between formally 'learning' a language and 'exposing' your child to a language. Many language specialists promote a learning through play experience, which is ideal to start around the age of 10 months. If this sounds incredibly early, think about what a 10-month-old child is like: they are babbling away, learning to talk, and picking up lots of stuff from the world around them: sounds from the radio and TV, and snippets of conversation from their parents and other people around them. Learning to communicate effectively in another language has been shown to boost children's confidence and self-assertiveness.
Will a second language delay speech in my child?
No, a second language will not delay language in a child; in fact, children are much more skilled at picking up a second language than adults. Parents can hold a high expectation of their child’s accuracy in language. “The earlier a child is exposed to a second language, the better the child did" “The brain changes during the teen years, making it impossible for an adult to learn a language in the same way that a child does”. However, if you feel that your child is experiencing a language delay, then you can go to a bi-lingual language therapist and consult with them in relation to your specific questions.
What are some of the benefits of learning a second language?
Learning a different language is a fantastic life skill. In the increasingly globalized modern city of Dubai, there's never been a more important time for children to learn a new language. As well as enhancing their educational and career prospects, learning a new language is fun, and opens up new experiences and a chance to understand different cultures and make new friends. Children are like sponges who pick up new things much more quickly than adults: learning a language comes easily to young minds.
Children have a natural curiosity about new things and they love mimicking and copying, an ideal starting point for learning a new language. By looking at what is around them and listening to the sounds and rhythms of everyday life, children absorb language without being fully conscious of it; they simply 'hear' or 'see' and that informs their development. Thus, childhood is a great time to learn a language because the 'learning' can be done in a non-formal way, without children realizing they are actually learning!
What are the benefits of learning a language in a class environment?
Because children are so much more skilled at picking up a second language than adults, immersion preschools and elementary schools are a popular choice for parents. Students at these schools have math, story time, and social studies the way other students do, but their classes are taught in a foreign language. Not only does this give the students ample time to practice the language, but research indicates that such a program might have other academic benefits, such as higher math scores and sharper critical thinking skills. Also, learning a second language at a young age doesn't hinder any abilities in the child's native language – in fact, it seems that a child's brain is wired so that all linguistic rules, be they native or foreign, are picked up quickly.
It is important to note that just because a child becomes fluent in French, Spanish and Arabic doesn't mean that he or she will be speaking those languages 50 years later. Without extended exposure to a language, the child's abilities diminish, so it's important to provide continued opportunities to practice their skills. Along these lines, even if your parents let your critical period for language acquisition pass by without so much as an "adios," don't fret. Even though young children may be more naturally gifted at learning languages, adults can learn them, too -- with motivation and hard work
"You can talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes straight to his heart."
How can I enroll my child into a class at Kidz Venture?
Baby Arabia is offering Arabic, Spanish and French to Mothers and toddlers aged 8 months to 3 years for both native and non-native speakers who wish to experience languages with their children through play.
Ages 8mth -3 years.
Cost AED 750 per term x 10 weeks.
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