Author Topic: Introducing a preschooler to a second language  (Read 463 times)

wordnerd

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Introducing a preschooler to a second language
« on: January 05, 2019, 12:15:01 PM »
My 3 year old is very into letters and reading, and I've started thinking about introducing him to Spanish. I speak Spanish moderately well, but not fluently, so we wouldn't be able to do the one-parent-one-language model. Has anyone had success introducing their preschooler to a second language that is not fluently spoken in the home? Any tips, tricks, or resources appreciated!

nereo

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Re: Introducing a preschooler to a second language
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 01:16:49 PM »
My 3 year old is very into letters and reading, and I've started thinking about introducing him to Spanish. I speak Spanish moderately well, but not fluently, so we wouldn't be able to do the one-parent-one-language model. Has anyone had success introducing their preschooler to a second language that is not fluently spoken in the home? Any tips, tricks, or resources appreciated!
My niece was sent to a Spanish speaking day care, and two of my english-speaking friends put their toddlers into french speaking day care.  All quickly picked up the language.  At that age I'd just plot him/her such an immersive environment and let him/her learn it that way.
g'luck.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Introducing a preschooler to a second language
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 10:32:22 AM »
I'm in the exact same situation, although DD goes to a daycare where Tuesdays are in Spanish and she's around many native Spanish speakers.  Honestly only getting it 1/5th of the week, she hasn't picked up very much.

We do Spanish at home in a very casual way.  Mostly songs from a few kids Spanish CDs.  We also do colors in Spanish a lot, like "Oh, that's rojo, red".  I figure we can incorporate it in a fun way, but I don't have high expectations for fluency or anything.  Mostly I think she'll have a better accent than me from learning the Spanish phonemes early.

nereo

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Re: Introducing a preschooler to a second language
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 10:44:58 AM »
I'm in the exact same situation, although DD goes to a daycare where Tuesdays are in Spanish and she's around many native Spanish speakers.  Honestly only getting it 1/5th of the week, she hasn't picked up very much.

We do Spanish at home in a very casual way.  Mostly songs from a few kids Spanish CDs.  We also do colors in Spanish a lot, like "Oh, that's rojo, red".  I figure we can incorporate it in a fun way, but I don't have high expectations for fluency or anything.  Mostly I think she'll have a better accent than me from learning the Spanish phonemes early.
I agree it needs to be an every-day (or at least a 4 or 5 day a week) sort of thing for the child to pick it up and gain fluency.  We're looking at providers ourselves and we're currently doing much of what you are doing - reading books and talking occasionally to our child in French. But we realize beyond knowing a few dozen words she's unlikely to learn to speak the language unless we can make it a much more constant part of her environment.

CNM

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Re: Introducing a preschooler to a second language
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 11:18:43 AM »
When my son was preschool age, for whatever reason he HATED learning German (my mother's native language) and would actively resist when we had a German-speaking babysitter.  We decided not to push it. 

He would tolerate German kid song CDs, if I read him a German book, or a German-language movie/TV show, but he MUCH preferred English or even Spanish.  Even though we are not a predominately Spanish-speaking household, Spanish is a much more common second language where I live so I suspect he felt more at ease with it. Fast forward to now, he's six and he VOLUNTARILY speaks German with his grandmother now and will initiate German conversation. What a turn-around!

So, my advice is to see what your kid likes, try not to be too overbearing about it and foster what he/she does like, and then expand as the kid gets older.

wordnerd

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Re: Introducing a preschooler to a second language
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 09:27:15 PM »
Thanks, everyone! I'm not looking for fluency--mostly just introducing sounds and words, which (maybe?) will make it easier to pick it up later. I'm planning on doing fun with low-expectations. I'll definitely pick-up some music and some children's books. I've also decided to make one of his stuffed animals exclusively speak Spanish, which he seems to find pretty funny at this point, so at least he's enjoying it. :)

nereo

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Re: Introducing a preschooler to a second language
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 06:20:39 AM »
Thanks, everyone! I'm not looking for fluency--mostly just introducing sounds and words, which (maybe?) will make it easier to pick it up later. I'm planning on doing fun with low-expectations. I'll definitely pick-up some music and some children's books. I've also decided to make one of his stuffed animals exclusively speak Spanish, which he seems to find pretty funny at this point, so at least he's enjoying it. :)

Oh it tickles me pink to hear you say that - we've done the same thing and for a while I felt like we were somewhat mad.  Our young daughter has two stuffed annimals, Marcelle and Jorge, who talk to her in Spanish and French.  It's a silly thing but she seems to love it, though she's still non-verbal herself.

wordnerd

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Re: Introducing a preschooler to a second language
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 11:42:56 AM »
Thanks, everyone! I'm not looking for fluency--mostly just introducing sounds and words, which (maybe?) will make it easier to pick it up later. I'm planning on doing fun with low-expectations. I'll definitely pick-up some music and some children's books. I've also decided to make one of his stuffed animals exclusively speak Spanish, which he seems to find pretty funny at this point, so at least he's enjoying it. :)

Oh it tickles me pink to hear you say that - we've done the same thing and for a while I felt like we were somewhat mad.  Our young daughter has two stuffed annimals, Marcelle and Jorge, who talk to her in Spanish and French.  It's a silly thing but she seems to love it, though she's still non-verbal herself.
Amazing! Sounds like our elephant, Jaime, would fit in well at your house. :)