I’m not entirely sure who dropped this in my twitter feed this morning but it caught my attention because it relates to teaching children foreign languages from the age of 3.
I am in favour of children learning languages from a young age and I am starting to do some research into how children acquire language for a separate reason anyway, but this concerned me:
When children join the preschool class of Moreton First at three years of age, they are exposed to four languages.
The four languages are English, French, Spanish and Chinese.
Catherine More, the head of the Moreton First School mentions explicitly research discussing the benefits of bilingualism and I fully favour that. However, bilingualism only works if it’s done properly. Quadrilingualism is not doing bilingualism properly.
Having spoken to parents in bilingual households, full fluency in two languages is hard work and that is with the benefit of home contact. If I were looking to school a child in an atmosphere where they were to be getting linguistic advantage, I’d prefer it to be just one foreign language, but taught in a more indepth manner.
Moreton First is a feeder school for Moreton Senior School. It would be interesting to test the fluency of children in the four languages as they progress through school.