10 FAQs about children learning a second language
Here at Les Puces, a leading French language school in the south east of England, we understand that many of you have things that you want to know, regarding your child learning French with us. Consequently, we have pleasure in bringing our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to you.
1. At what age should my child start learning a second language?
A baby starts to differentiate between languages from just a few weeks old and so it’s never too early to start getting them used to hearing French or any other language. Perhaps start listening to some of our songs. You can hear our music on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and Apple Music by simply searching for Les Puces. Our first album is called “Bonjour Les Puces”. You can also see some of our videos on the website.
2. At what age should my child start attending classes?
We recommend that children start attending classes around the age of 3, purely because by that age they have more of a grasp of class structure. However, we do have many children attending classes who start around the age of 2.
3. My child is still learning English so I don’t want to confuse him/her.
Babies are born to communicate as quickly as possible, and from birth the brain is looking for patterns in language. By the time they reach the age of 8, they are really moving on and the ear is changing so that they actually don’t hear in the same way. With this in mind, it’s essential to capture this learning phase while they are still young. The only people holding a child back are the parents! Attending a class certainly won’t confuse your child.
4. Do parents attend your classes?
We encourage parents to come along as when parents are involved, it generally accelerates the child’s learning and helps them understand. You may find though, that your little one concentrates more without you, especially as they get older! If you want to try leaving for some classes then have a chat with the maitresse about the differences in concentration or generally joining in when you are not there! (This option is for school aged children).
5. What should I do if my little one doesn’t seem to be concentrating?
The most important thing is not to worry. Feedback shows that those children who don’t appear to be concentrating will come out with French words at the most unexpected times. They are just showing a different way of learning and the information is sinking in. However, for other children and mums in the group, it’s important that your little one is not disrupting the class. Have a chat with your maitresse to find the best solution for you.
6. Why do you have mixed age groups in a class?
We don’t differentiate or segregate on an age basis, as a 3 year old can be bi-lingual and fluent whereas a 10 year old may have had no exposure to the language at all. Our books and songs are written so that they account for this and our teachers are trained to target different ages and levels. It’s just important that all children are learning at whatever age they are. We also find it an interesting concept that the little ones can see that carers of any age are often learning alongside them. What better lesson to learn at such a young age than that we never stop learning!
7. Do you run nursery classes?
Our teachers do go into nursery classes and usually hold shorter sessions singing songs and reading stories. We work with the nursery to ensure the right amount of time to avoid children losing concentration. This early exposure to a second language is so important. We are happy to be contacted by nursery groups who feel that this would be beneficial for the children in their care.
8. Can you come to my child’s school and run an after school class?
Yes, we would love to! We do write to schools but they are quite often too busy to get back to us. We find that schools usually listen to parents and if this is something that parents want for their children, their requests to the schools will lead to the schools getting in touch with us... et voila!
9. As English is my second language, what language should I read the stories in at home?
When reading our books at home, the main priority is that your child has a full understanding of the text in his or her first language. This means that when s/he hears the story read in English or in French, she will understand what is being said. Please note a child’s ear is very susceptible to picking up accents so it will be better that your child concentrates on English at nursery, your first language at home and French with us!
10. I would like to send my child to one of your classes but there isn’t one in my area. What can I do?
Les Puces wants to expand nationwide and we are offering business opportunities in the form of franchises. If you are interested in running your own business, it could be just what you are looking for. Please do let us know if you want to be added to a waiting list - if we find demand in a particular area we are more likely to get classes up and running sooner.
If you have any questions that you would like to ask Les Puces, the language school of choice in the south east of England, please do get in touch with us on 01892 457135 or 07534 954807.
We currently have classes in Bromley, Brighton, Canterbury, Crawley, Folkestone, Horsham, Maidstone, Portsmouth, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Whitstable and Worthing, where children of all ages can learn French in an innovative and inspiring way.
Photos from DepositPhotos and Les Puces