Friday, November 30, 2012
It was made apparent during our trip to Paris last year what a huge disadvantage it is to only know one language. I won't lie, I tried to bust out some high school French, and was understood maybe half of the time. Reading menus and maps was a little easier, but understanding it when spoken? Forget about it. I so wish I had stuck with learning a second language past the two French classes I took in high school.
Even though more and more people populate the planet, we're growing smaller and more connected than ever thanks to technology. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every child was taught a mandatory second language beginning in Kindergarten? I'm not sure if that's controversial or not, but I think it would be great. Communication is key, and any leg up we can give our kids is beneficial.
I've been looking into some language learning programs for kids. There are some great clips on Youtube, like this French one* I watched from Dino Lingo. Judah is too young now for much "screen time" - and TV and Video really doesn't hold his attention for very long. I like that these clips are short and have fun music in the background. And of course the animation is great for little ones. He doesn't have any real words at this point (just turned 9 months, yay!), so I don't know how effective trying to incorporate a foreign language would be. I don't want to be one of those moms that goes crazy with the flash cards trying to make my child some kind of genius (ahem...the "Your baby can read" scam that just went under...). I would just want to do it in a casual and fun way.
If we did implement some foreign-language learning, I wouldn't be overzealous about it, but I do think it would be a fun way to expose Judah to different cultures early on. I actually remember learning how to count to ten in Spanish in my Kindergarten class. I've also heard that children that grow up in bi-lingual households have a better grasp of language and communication overall, but are also later to speak.
I'd love to know, did you or are you planning on teaching your child a second language? How do you go about doing it in your everyday life? Are you casual about it or really hardcore, and how is it working out?
*I watched this video complimentary through www.Influenster.com.