PARENTS are the BEST KEPT SECRET in early language learning. Learn why here.
You may not be aware of this, but PARENTS are the BEST KEPT SECRET in early language learning. This is now becoming more widely known and supported by research. However, the overwhelming majority of learning materials and resources in the market today continue to be geared toward teachers or older children learning on their own.
Every now and then you may find products targeting children 0-7 yrs, but often they are not very effective because exposure to the language is limited to sounds (in the case of babies), short phrases, and lists of colors or miscellaneous vocabulary (e.g. Dora the Explorer will occasionally mix in a few Spanish words into the dialogue). Also, most of these products do not engage parents, which is a problem.
You see, to really promote bilingual education, children (especially young children) need to be talked to using whole language in context around everyday activities that they can relate to.
That is to say, the best way to introduce your children to a second language in early childhood is to use it naturally for real life purposes such as playing or having a conversation about favorite ice cream flavors (teaching children a few arbitrary words at a time without a broader context is not only a waste of time, but also completely disregards young children’s optimal capability for learning languages).
No one is in a better position to immerse young children in meaningful everyday language than parents.
So you may be wondering how can this be done? What resources are out there for parents? How do parents overcome common obstacles? I have dedicated my professional life to parents and children learning languages together, and I am here to help you along the way.
Putting the spotlight squarely on THE ROLE OF PARENTS in second (or world) language acquisition and creating a line of products to support what you are doing at home has become my professional mission and obsession.
Yes. I know that the approach is different to what you may be used to and that it will require some additional learning on your part, but I truly hope that you consider getting involved. Nothing is as powerful as children and parents ‘growing’ in a language together.
The best way to begin is to take it easy. Give yourself plenty of time to think about the project and how it could fit—or not—within your family life.
Note: My products can also be used by teachers and older children learning on their own, but I encourage teachers to get parents involved whenever possible.
Ana Lomba is changing the way people think about and interact with young children learning languages. Her Parents’ Choice award-winning books, lively songs, games, stories, and mobile applications are quickly becoming favorites with teachers and parents who want to nurture young children’ inborn language abilities. Key to the success of Ana’s break-through method is a focus on the family as the ideal environment for early language learning – even her signature curriculum for language programs is built with parents in mind. Ana has taught toddler, preschool, elementary school, and college-level Spanish courses, and held leadership positions with some of the most influential language organizations in the US, including ACTFL, NNELL and FLENJ. After graduating with a law degree from Spain, her native country, Ana pursued graduate studies at Binghamton University, Princeton University, and NYU.