1. Effective and Fun. Language learning at school usually revolves around sitting in chairs and teachers providing grammar and structures for children to use. Our programme has been developed to focus on what kids like to do and then to do these activities in another language, with plenty of repetition and structure.
2. Learning through Play. Play is at the heart of Lingotot sessions. Babies and young children learn, grow and have fun through play. Lingotot play sessions help them understand the world and other cultures. Singing songs, reading together and having fun with friends gives them a head start to develop socially and emotionally.
3. English is Not Enough. Our global community means it is vital to be able to communicate with other communities around the world.
4. Early is Better. If it’s introduced early and well, children pick up a second language naturally, just like they learn their mother tongue, instead of learning it in “second language” mode like we do as adults - constantly translating from one language to another in our heads!
5. All Round Educational Boost. Research suggests that children who know two languages can gain an academic and social advantage over those who speak only one. Children have an amazing ability to learn language and this happens best when it is interactive, engaging, child-centered.
6. Excellent Communication Skills. Speaking and Listening are the cornerstone to literacy development. A broad and rich language curriculum ensures such skills are developed, leading to a good start in phonic work. In fact, Lingotot can introduce young learners to foreign- language letter sounds!
7. Increased Self-Esteem. Children love being able to communicate in another language. Our classes encourage talking, imitating, play-acting and sharing their language skills right from the first lesson. Children and adults alike make lots of new like-minded friends too!
8. Prepare Them for the Future. Competence in foreign languages is increasingly valued by universities. Languages become compulsory in English primary schools in 2014 and will form part of the new EBaac at secondary school level.
9. Acquire a Lifelong Advantage. Learning another language offers a lifetime of possibilities and adventure. In later life, knowing another language not only helps you make friends, finding jobs etc, it can also help stave off illnesses such as Alzheimer’s
10. Learn a Language Together! Lingotot sessions benefit the whole family. Parents and children learn, play and bond together. The sessions are designed for you to attend with your child so that you can be fully engaged with their learning and carry on using new language together at home.
Renze Kramer pictured with his wife and twin son & daughter. Here he shares his experiences of raising them in a tri-lingual environment: English, Dutch and German. Renze is passionate about languages which he loves to share through his website, Babeltots, which supplies multilingual toys. Don't forget to ask your Lingotot practitioner for our special discount code to use on the Babeltots website!
My wife and I are both born and raised with just one language - my wife is from Austria and I am Dutch. We met in London, got married in Ealing and we have 3 year-old boy/girl twins.
When our twins were born, we made the conscious decision that the twins should learn both our native languages as well as the 'local language' (English). We felt, that apart from being part of our culture, the importance of our native languages is that our siblings have young children too and we wanted to ensure that the twins would be able to communicate with their cousins and grandparents. We live in the UK so there was never any doubt that the local language would also become an important part of their language repertoire. We speak English to each other and everything outside the front door is in English :)
As we have learned foreign languages at school, due to lack of personal experience, we had to read up on how to raise children with multiple languages. The most obvious choice for us was the One Parent One Language (OPOL) approach. In the process, we learned that many children who learn more than one language start speaking slightly later compared to children who are raised in one language. We have also learned that many twins also have a tendency to start speaking a bit later compared to singletons. One possible reason for this is that they have such a strong bond or connection, that they don't need words to communicate with each other - therefore taking away any 'sense of urgency' to start speaking the parents' language.
Although inexperienced, we were convinced our approach was right for us but, as time went by, there have been instances where others started to question if we were doing the right thing for our kids. Around Christmas last year, some people started suggesting that maybe we should consider dropping one of the languages as the twins were over 2 years old and only starting to mumble their first words. They were all really focused on the vocal part of their own language and didn't realise that the children understood every instruction given to them, irrespective of the language it was delivered in, Dutch, English or German. This was also when we came across a funny 'problem'. When we looked at pictures with the children and they would name something, e.g. a tree, but they call it a 'Baum' (German) when they talk to me, then technically it's incorrect, as they should use the Dutch word instead. However, it's not really incorrect, because they've learned the German word and that should be emphasised as being correct - even by the 'wrong' parent. We found it very useful to say: 'Yes, that's what mummy calls it. Daddy calls it... and your friends call it...'.
Since Christmas last year, so many things have happened. The twin have made up so much ground and are currently speaking multiple word sentences using a wide variety of words in all three languages. They confidently switch languages between talking to mummy and daddy and are perfectly happy to 'translate'. If I ask them "Can you please ask mummy ..... " (in Dutch), they run off towards mummy shouting ... uuhhh ... repeating my instruction in German.
They are in pre-school now where their English vocabulary is booming. It is very funny to see how they are now interacting as they use all three languages. Which language is largely determined by what they are doing at the time. Some games they do mostly with mummy and will be done in German, some puzzles are done with Daddy and will be 'discussed' in Dutch whereas some toys are associated with pre-school so they talk English.
I would love to say we knew exactly what we were doing these last few years. We believed in what we were doing and stuck to it. Some of our biggest challenges were to overcome other people's misconceptions and to figure out which language the children were trying to use. Now, their speech is becoming better, we can distinguish the language easier (very helpful), but ... we are still fluently ignored in all 3 languages.
Babies and young children are like sponges for language learning. They are programmed to pick up any language they hear. This makes a great deal of sense. Babies all over the world are ‘citizens of the world.’ They can discriminate all the sounds of all languages, no matter what country they're born into. They already start to "tune in" to the language they hear more frequently from about 9 months of age. However, their learning power remains high until about the age of seven - take a look at the graph on the left. Michael Gove really needs to consider his plans to make MFL compulsory AFTER age seven!
Please watch this video to find out just how fantastic children and babies are at language learning! Patricia Kuhl is co-director of the Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington. She's internationally recognized for her research on early language and brain development, and studies that show how young children learn. Kuhl’s work has played a major role in demonstrating how early exposure to language alters the brain. It has implications for critical periods in development, for bilingual education and reading readiness, for developmental disabilities involving language, and for research on computer understanding of speech.
Keeping the kids entertained over the summer holidays can be difficult. Many parents also like to make sure they do some educational activities too. Many more worry about the cost of such activities. Well, here at Lingotot we've devised a FREE week-long online craft club for kids. Each and every day of week beginning 13th August we will be posting a new French video online which demos a simple craft activity 100% in French for the children to watch, understand and copy - imagine Blue Peter in French! We will also sneak in some songs ;)
We really hope you enjoy doing the simple crafts together and please please send us your photographs of your finished masterpieces, or even short videos of you completing the lovely little tasks. You can email
them to us or upload them to our Facebook
To access the videos, simply click here
or find the link on our homepage
. Please share with all of your friends!
PS Don't forget to sign up for your new term of classes now to secure your place
Our very own Angela Sterling, Lingotot founder, was in the press this week talking about Michael Gove's plans to make languages compulsory in English primary schools. Speaking to The Journal this week she did of course welcome the plans, but here at Lingotot we think that languages should be made compulsory at an earlier age than the proposed 7 years old.....our little children pick up the language effortlessly and much like they learn their own mother tongue.
Angela also worries about the lack of funding for the scheme, "Primary school teachers do a fantastic job. However, the majority of them are not language specialists and cannot speak the language fluently. “Schools will need extra funding to train their own teachers or bring in specialist providers, like Lingotot, to fill the skills gap."
What a busy week here at Lingotot! Our wonderful and clever Lingotots have been creating some lovely crafts after following our instructions 100% in French at full speed! Quite an achievement! Here are some examples of their work: rainbows and little fish...
We're all excited her at Lingotot HQ as we've won the Netmums Preschool Class Awards!
The award is extra special too as it is completely parent-led. Our lovely LingoMums and LingoDads nominated us and then voted for us and we can't thank them enough.
We are very excited here at Lingotot with the news that languages are about to be made compulsory in primary schools.
According to the Telegraph, "Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, will say that subjects such as French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Latin or Greek will be made a compulsory part of the primary school timetable for the first time.
Ministers hope the move will make pupils better-equipped to compete in a global economy while reversing the “damaging collapse” in GCSE language take-up.
Currently about one in ten state primary schools offers no language lessons at all and a further 20 per cent only offer it to some year groups, according to the most recent official figures.
The move to make languages a requirement from age seven will form part of a new primary National Curriculum, taking effect in 2014."To read more from this article, please click here.
You can also read more about it on the BBC website
, "New curriculum 'to make languages compulsory from seven' "
A warm welcome to Lingotot HQ for LingoTed, our cute little language friend and mascot!
LingoTed will be going on lots of adventures over the coming weeks and we'll keep you posted on his comings and goings....he may even go for a sleepover with one of our Lingotots. Please get in touch if you'd like to volunteer to look after LingoTed for a few days and report back on his activities with photographs :D
For some people choosing a language is easy and obvious. Perhaps you are a native or fluent speaker of a language or you have relatives who are. However, if you are like many families here in the UK, perhaps your experience is limited to some basic school-level French and asking for two beers on holiday in Spanish! That makes your decision a little tricky.
You may want to consider the following as a good starting point on language choice:
* Do you have a strong preference for or a love of a particular language?
* Have you studied any languages or do you know them well?
* Do you feel comfortable using this language with your child(ren)?
* Are there any other family members with language skills?
* How often would you or other members of your family be able to use the
language with your little one(s)?
* Are there any languages spoken in your local area which you could easily
* What kind of languages classes or playgroups are available locally?
* Is there a Lingotot class near you? If not you could contact us about
* Do any local nurseries or childminders offer a second language?
* Do you live close to a university or similar institution where you could
easily access foreign-speaking babysitters?
Don’t forget that when you have chosen your language that dedication is they key - so stick with it!