Concept for language learning
Young children learn when there are connections made to their everyday lives and when they are provided with authentic situations. It makes little sense for children at this age to learn language in an abstract way or to be offered worksheets. Bilingual children learn their second language through play in real and authentic situations in which they have opportunities to speak and listen with others. Our goal is to promote both languages in our setting in which we create situations where the children have a need to communicate in these languages (German/English).
It is recommended that children who do not speak German as their mother tongue at home attend the preschool for five days so that they have the opportunity to use the language as much as possible in an authentic setting. We also recommend that families speak with their children in the language that is their mother-tongue (not the second language), as it is important for children learning a second language to have their mother-tongue as a strong foundation. The ability to be able to communicate in many languages is an immense enrichment for children. Children that experience difficulties with language should not be discouraged from learning more than one language and it is especially important in these situations that parents maintain their home language with children experiencing difficulties – again so that a strong basis is formed.
Many children need time before they actively use their second language. Often they are acquiring the second language passively and beginning to formulate understandings about how to use it in certain situations. The time that it takes children to start using a language actively varies between individuals, but the emphasis here is most often they do need time and space before the language becomes active.