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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Preschool after a month for a bilingual child

I wrote a month ago about the first experience for a child that enters preschool without attended a daycare setting before, and how different can this be specially if the child is bilingual or in the process of acquire a second language.

My 4 yr-old  son speaks a fluent Spanish (we chose to speak Spanish to him before he can lose the ability of learning it later at least with easiness), and he is now in his first month of Preschool in an English exclusive environment.  How is he managing this environment? quite well and recomforting for us. 

The first weeks the anxiety of being alone in a world in which people speak different scared him, but his resilience made him understand the basic instructions.  It is important for those parents in the same situation to help the child with basic instructions at home about what the child will encounter in the classroom. And always praise its efforts to help its self esteem.

We did some classroom practices at home, how to seat correctly with the instructions he listens  from the teacher, how to ask for permission, to go to the bathroom and basic manner sentences.  This seemed to work because he is already used to the routine the teachers have for activities, lunch time and even he went into two practice fieldtrips.

He is not yet talking English fluently but he is learning to understand it and works around the instructions, and does his classroom practice sheets with the accuracy of someone that understands instructions.  I think this is great for any child that is learning a second language.  I also had the opportunity to know in depth a dual language immersion school recently that works with the International Baccaularate (IB) model, which works very well for children that English is first language, and Spanish is second, or for parents that want children to continue in Spanish instruction.  So the process there is inverse, teachers speak 80% Spanish and 20% English, and as they grow the English increases; the immersion works great.  I saw first graders speaking a fluent Spanish like my children do.

I write this post to assure myself and other parents in the importance of having children exposed to different languages, hopefully before they are seven years old, in which the brain is acquiring the language skills naturally.  At home it is important to keep speaking the native language of your choice (some parents choose the foreign language even if they speak English as well), and continue the effort until the child masters the new language.

It is very interesting to watch this linguistic process, and even his little friends are acquiring some Spanish words by interacting together. Those are the wonders of diversity!


  1. Thanks for sharing Interesting post.
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  2. Thanks for sharing Interesting post.Great job!! You have a nice blog for Preschool . I will be back alot Good luck with all you do! Preschool in Bangalore,
    Playschool in Bangalore