Since the young Princess Charlotte has started nursery, there has been much publicity about her learning another language. At Horsham Montessori, we have been introducing our children to new languages for many years. We currently teach Chinese and French. Why do we do this?
As babies begin to make sounds, sometimes called “babble”, they are using various muscle groups in the mouth and discovering how to use these muscles in varying combinations to make sounds. Each language uses about four or five sets of muscles to make their phonemes. However, different languages use different sets of muscles. If we can introduce our children to experiencing using these varying sets of muscles and exploring the possible sounds, they are preparing their mouth skills to be comfortable to learn new languages in the future, therefore making pronunciation easier. There is also some evidence that those who have learnt a language before the age of eight will be able to reason, count, and maybe dream in the various languages.
To support your child’s experience in playing with sounds, we suggest that you listen to songs and rhymes in different languages. If your child has a favourite DVD that they know well, then you can also change the language setting, and have the child listen in another language.