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The Bilingual Montessori

The Bilingual Montessori

It can never be too early to start learning a new language.

It’s especially true for a child: it will be a lot of fun and will stimulate healthy development as well as many cognitive and social benefits that will last a lifetime.

Despite what many people believe, kids are more than happy to be introduced to multiple languages. They can naturally adapt to any multilingual environment, and obtaining a second lingo that early in life will make a strong foundation for further learning, which is simultaneously opening a world of opportunities.

Nowadays, the multilingual approach to parenthood is one of the most popular ones. To prevent you from asking “why”, here is the answer: parents want their kids to know as many speeches  as possible, instead of choosing just one.

But what:

  • language should be the first to learn and how to even start?
  • is the best way to teach a toddler a second tongue : with a native speaker or a certified teacher?
  • are the methods that parents can use to get going with a bilingual approach?

There have been quite a lot of studies on bilingualism in recent years, but there are a lot of things we still don't know.

OPOL (One Person, One Language) – is a bilingual parenting technique in which one of the parents speaks to a little one  in one lingo while another chooses a different one to communicate with a kid. This One Person can not always be the parent, it could also be a grandparent, caretaker and even a Montessori teacher. For example:

  • An Australian father and an Italian mother raising their kids in English and Italian in Australia.
  • A Spanish Father and an American mother raising their kids in English and Spanish in Spain.
  • An English father and a German mother raising their kids trilingually in English and German in France at home, while kids learn French speech mostly outside of the house.

A prepared Montessori environment is more than suitable for encouraging second language acquisition and requires very little adaptations in the teaching process to meet the needs of children.

Montessori materials tend to be certain objects like toys or furniture which children use to learn through action and games. With a multi-sensory approach, children are activating many of their senses as they engage with things during the  day. By using their hands to manipulate objects, children’s experiences will naturally pass into memory, alongside with the language that was used to describe them.

Daily schedule of Montessori school provides a repetitive pattern of activities such as group studying, outdoor playing, taking meals and resting. Consistent routine helps little ones to start feeling  safe and secure. These feelings  support their healthy development. And it’s fine if you don’t have any Montessori institutions around you, because implementing a strict schedule for your loved toddler will have the same positive influence on them.

Here are some of the reasons why your little one will benefit from speaking skills and how you can help it. 

  • According to some studies, bilingualism improves problem-solving, logical analysis, and communication skills, as well as memory, concentration, and the ability to process information. Youngsters that are fluent in more than one tongue display increased activity, creative thinking, and cognitive diversity.
  • The experience of learning something new introduces children to the world full of new ideas they might have not experienced the other way. Younger learners are not afraid of making mistakes, which sometimes can turn out as a problem for older beginners. Children who study the second lingo in early ages are using the same brain regions to acquire it as they have used to learn their mother tongue.
  • Without a doubt, acquiring a new speech will have a significant impact on a child's future school and academic achievements. Without any special techniques, bilingual children have improved reading, writing, and math skills, and they often have better grades in comparison to kids who know only one language.

Finally, if you are raising your toddler  bilingually, regardless of your teaching context, try to make use of any knowledge of languages as much as possible. Here are the last few tips that could help you:

  • Always speak to your child in both languages and never in one speech more than the other.
  • Be consistent with what language they hear first and last throughout their day, even if it changes sometimes.
  • Let them hear their native lingo every day as well, at least when they're not at school or kindergarten or being around other people who don't speak
  • Read books in both languages and add videos with subtitles.
  • Make sure they have another lingo offered at school so that they can start learning from a young age, because (don’t forget it!) children can learn a second or a third speech  easier than adults do.
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