(+33) 09 80 64 85 19
Another way to watch your children grow

Bilingualism

Several types of bilingualism occur in children: Premature and simultaneous bilingualism refers to a situation when both languages are present at birth. When the second language is introduced after the age of three, premature and consecutive bilingualism is the outcome. When contact with the second language begins after the age of six, the learning mechanisms are different from those of language acquisition and lead to late bilingualism.

Different factors affect the development of bilingualism in children:
  • The trigger for the acquisition of two languages early in life is always the young child’s need to interact with people who speak more than one language.
     
  • The various stages of bilingual language development are affected by the age of the first contact with the second language;
     
  •  The level of competence that can be reached in both languages depends on the social context of the child.

A child, whose parents do not speak the same language, will usually develop a balanced bilingualism. However, upon entering a monolingual environment, the child is likely gradually to lose these skills. This is what often happens when children who are bilingual from infancy enter a monolingual nursery or pre-school. Skills in one language decline, while the language used most of the time in the monolingual environment becomes the child’s dominant language. Attending a bilingual school protects and expands the child’s bilingualism by introducing additional skills in both languages: reading, writing, singing, etc.

In our school, native French and native English speaking staff work side by side. The activities are carried out naturally in both languages. English is not taught separately but rather experienced cognitively and emotionally as a lived language in a formative context. We use Montessori materials in both English and French. The individualized learning process that marks the Montessori method naturally lends itself to the implementation of the bilingual approach.