At Whiz Kidz, we understand the importance of promoting language development in bilingual children for their cognitive and communication skills. This is why the team at Whiz Kidz work with parents to develop strategies that can be used at our centres or at home to develop language skills. Here are some of those strategies:
- Consistency: Maintain a consistent language environment. Assign one language for specific contexts or people. For example, use one language at home and another at childcare.
- Rich Language Exposure: Provide ample exposure to both languages. Surround the child with books, music, and media in both languages. This exposure helps them grasp vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
- Interaction: Engage in conversations with the child in both languages. Encourage them to express themselves fully. Respond actively and encourage questions.
- Play and Activities: Incorporate language into everyday activities and play. Use activities that involve storytelling, singing, and role-playing.
- Cultural Exposure: Help the child connect with the cultures associated with each language. This fosters an appreciation for the languages and their significance.
- Patience: Don’t be concerned if the child mixes languages (code-switching) initially. This is a normal part of bilingual development.
- Reading Aloud: Read books aloud in both languages. This enhances vocabulary, comprehension, and cognitive skills.
- Language Resources: Utilise language learning resources such as bilingual books, educational apps, and language-learning games.
- Language Role Models: Introduce the child to native speakers of each language. Interaction with fluent speakers can provide authentic language models.
- Celebrate Progress: Celebrate the child’s language milestones and efforts in both languages. Positive reinforcement encourages their language development.
- Language Assessment: Regularly assess the child’s language skills to identify strengths and areas that might need more focus.
- Avoid Pressure: While it’s important to encourage language use, avoid pressuring the child. Language learning should be a positive experience.
The staff at Whiz Kidz recognise that each child’s language development is unique. Some might initially show a preference for one language, but with consistent exposure, they can become proficient in both.