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Dear parents, here you can find a lot of useful information about raising a bilingual child. We will help and guide you towards the right specialist who will be able to teach your child to speak like a native

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Arguments in favor of studying a second language at an early age

Every child is a born linguist. He or she can easily become bilingual (speak two languages fluently) and even multilingual (speak three or more languages fluently). But this innate gift often ends when a child reaches age 9

Childrens natural genius for language generally occurs during the sensitive period (a period of extra receptivity) which usually extends from the time they are newborn until age   9.  Throughout this time basic speech skills  form , perfectly disposing a childs brain for learning and receiving any spoken language. Languages are learnt with greater difficulty between ages 9-12. From ages 25-50, there is little variation in the efficiency of learning; it generally is challenging to learn a language from age 25 onwards.

1. Health and intelligence benefits

2. Language geniuses: children have an incredible memory for languages

3. Children seek new knowledge

4. Economy of time, money and forces

5. Discipline

6. New possibilities

7. Security

HEALTH AND INTELLIGENCE BENEFITS

If you have relatives who are skeptical of the efficacy of bilingual education in your family, who do not understand all the advantages of it, or, worse still, try to resist it, then this chapter is for them.

Recent research indicates that children who become bilingual very early attain higher mental development scores and exceed the potential of their peers. Their memories are capable of holding more information than their monolingual peers, and their nervous systems are more stable. British scientists, led by A. Mekelli, reveal that bilingual children lead a more active lifestyle and use more gray matter than children who converse in only one language. These findings were especially typical of children who spoke two languages from childhood ("early bilinguals"). Simon Tasca`s Research reveals that bilingual adults actually can think and react faster and their brains are less susceptible to premature aging. Furthermore, research in the field of "executive function" showed that bilingual children are better decision makers, and it is easier for them to concentrate and to achieve intended objectives.

The speed of thought processes in bilingual children is faster than that of normal children. Numerous studies also indicate that the level of IQ (intelligence quotient) in bilingual children is higher than that of children who speak one language.

A foreign language transmitted by a native speaker not only functions as a communication tool, but also as cultural transmission: conveying a whole mentality along with cultural traditions. If a professional foreign nanny constantly communicates with a child, his or her worldview will be broader, and he or she will acquire a cultural understanding which will enable him or her better to function in an increasingly globally-orientated world when he or she reaches adulthood.  In particular, communicating with a person of British culture who possesses a high sense of morals develops in the child social skills which will be indispensable for success in international society. Finally, interacting with a native of another culture is certain to excite an interest in different cultures and languages while a child is in his or her formative years, and this early interaction contributes to   the childs later character and interests.

It is possible that having such a role model in childhood will help your child learn and will liberate him from certain complexes we bear from the USSR and unconsciously transmit to our progeny.

Most western scientific research proves the positive effects of bilingualism on childs development, and Russian scientific research concurs. For example, Professor Shmelev of Moscow State University is convinced of the positive influence of an artificial language environment upon childrens speech development and on their general intelligence and personality development.

LANGUAGE GENIUSES: CHILDREN HAVE AN INCREDIBLE MEMORY FOR LANGUAGES

"Nature has arranged the human brain in such a way that during the first six years of life, it can absorb information at a tremendous speed, not applying for this is not the slightest effort" states Glen Doman, author of the book How to Teach a Child to Read.

For the first six years of life, children learn in three times the speed that they do for the rest of their lives. And there is nothing strange about this: children simply explore anything in which they are interested and thereby consume great amounts of information. The word "knowledge" is not synonymous with the word "education". Education begins at age six, and knowledge - from the very beginning, from the moment of birth. 

Problems with education arise when adults excessively limit the access of small researchers to sources of information, assuming that they are too young to comprehend it. . A child's brain can absorb enormous amounts of information (And it can be documented, if we pay attention to the speed with whichcontinuous acquisition of knowledge increases the child's braincapacity.). It is incredible, but what a child can learn in a few months, an adult will spend years attempting to learn!

I have yet to see a healthy child who has not learned to speak alanguage. Some learn earlier, some learn later, some are more engaged, some are less engaged, but all children begin to speak. Mastering  languages is easy for them . Therefore, a child who lives in a bilingual environment, easily masters two languages. If children are surrounded by three languages in their home, theywill speak all three. Children seem genetically programmed to speak in the languages used around them.

Learning a foreign language is a very difficult task for adults, and only a small percentage learn to speak an additional language perfectly. If adults competed with children to win a foreign language learning competition, the sole prize in the adult category would be an inferiority complex.

We can see a spectacular example of childrens language learning abilities in the families of immigrants who moved to the UK with their young children. A year later, the children were fluent in English, and  perfectly pronounced English words while the adults were able to express themselves on a basic level, but never reached the levels of their children. This miracle of the linguistic genius of children is called in linguistic literature the "imprinting" of a language: a child immersed in the environment of a language subconsciously learns the grammar and syntax of the language being spoken.

The only question is, are we able to provide suitable environments for the growth and development of children's linguistic genius? Then too, the linguistic genius is peculiar to each child. It can be compared with grain, which is able to germinate and bear fruit. The more opportunities we give to our children to be smart, the smarter they become. 

INTERESTING FACT

Latest research has shown that in their first 6 months of life children can discern different sounds and languages. An experiment at British Columbia University has stated that babies can read lips.

Japanese children can discern sounds that are absent in Japanese. When they reach adulthood, they don`t hear the differences. English-speaking toddlers can discern complicated sounds that differ from English such as those of German or Swedish. (Later, without practice, children loose this capacity).

CHILDREN SEEK FOR NEW KNOWLEDGE

Continual interest in new things is a quality that we adults should learn from our children. If you have the financial opportunity to teach your child two or three languages, there is no rational explanation as to why your child should be deprived of this.

At the heart of any child-centered teaching is the sparking of interest and curiosity because children generate their own curiosity. Children learn all the time, studying the environment, people, objects, etc. So during any training it is necessary to interest the child and to create conditions in which he will feel comfortable, interested, involved.

From the moment when a child begins to communicate fluently in a language, which is necessary for becoming an educated and intelligent man who will be able to satisfy his hunger for knowledge, answering endless whys, the task of the family environment (and ancillary environments) is to encourage learning and questioning  and to provide access to answers and new information: thereby raising the demand for and propensity to acquire new knowledge. The more open access to knowledge lies in front of the child, the more intellectually and emotionally developed a young child can become, and the broader its outlook will be .

In order for the process of learning a second language to begin, it is easier for a person who is engaged in it to know what a child is interested in, what he likes, and how certain actions affect his mood Only after studying a childs inclinations should parents and teachers look for  approaches to the forming of new interests in the child. The involvement of the child should be at intervals. (E.g., An adult can ask for help from a child to clean the room or to bring a children's magazine that he wants to read him aloud).

TIME, MONEY AND FORCES ECONOMY

Psychologists say studying English is merry play for children; it brings them pleasure and is not difficult.

A skilled nanny from abroad is expensive, but a child (and subsequently an adult) who doesnt speak English is far more expensive in the long-term.

It sounds like a paradox, but very often it is true. As a famous Russian idiom says: "A stingy person pays two times". Imagine how much money youll spend if you hire an English tutor for an older child or for a school graduate preparing to enter a university! And how hard it will be psychologically forcing an adult  to sit  at a desk and  do his English homework when a bilingual child doesnt   have to spend too much time at his

English homework and can develop himself or herself in other directions as well.

As for learning English at school, usually this way of studying doesnt give a brilliant result even with a tutor. Classes with a tutor cost a lot for the parents, and the result of these classes cannot be sure in advance. In any case, the final results will be less satisfactory than if the child had become bilingual at an early age.

Summer language trips to England for scholars are very expensive and, unfortunately, dont always bring  positive results, since there are other Russian children in these groups. The Russian children (naturally) find one another and speak Russian instead of the intended English  

English is one of the richest languages in terms of information available. A child who speaks English has a more open-mind, than a child who does not. For his homework he or she can find important articles or books (written in English) to read and to use as evidence in his or her essay. In their free-time, when they listen to music, bilingual children can understand what their favorite English or American singers sing about. And, of course, children who started to speak English at an early age will feel more comfortable when they pursue higher studies or liveabroad (not in Russia).

Thus, you see that, when grown-up, your child will need to speak English in any case; it is up to you to decide what a bilingual child is worth and what will be the life-path result.

DISCIPLINE

British nannies can use a soft or a strict approach to a child depending upon the parents position on discipline (a soft approach is characteristic for London Montessori College for Teachers and Nannies graduates). However, these are specialists who dont educate spoilt children and dont indulge their caprices. They master methods of changing  environments and  situations where a child is in a bad mood. An English nanny will always calmly explain to a child the discipline requirements and why should they be followed. Being calm and reasonable is a typical distinguishing feature of British childcare specialists. Discipline does not mean physical punishment, but intellectual development, an encouraging of independence and personal characteristics.

NEW POSSIBILITIES

English will develop and enrich your childs mind.

Today, the English language is an important tool; nearly a billion people on planet Earth speak it. This fact makes English one of the most expansive communication tools used worldwide. As with all languages, there are different means of utilizing English as communication: by voice or by writing, over television, through radio or through newspapers. Thats why English has become a part of school programmes as a subject that gives an additional communication means to a child apart from his mother tongue.

It is impossible to teach English to a baby. But you can ensure that English will become his mother tongue.

Nowadays it is obligatory to speak English. Without this knowledge, it is very difficult to reach success in a serious business. The English language is essential to so many professions, from science to banking . English is a key to new possibilities in various spheres: education, culture, science, business.

Knowing English makes getting  information easier. It is really impossible to graduate with elite diplomas and education certificates without knowing English. The basic literature of financial markets, world economics and world politics is written in English. Not everything is translated and sometimes a translation is not worth the original. Most computer hardware and software is designed in the USA. In the case of children, ,they will feel more comfortable travelling abroad and, by knowing English, can make friends with foreign kids. Generally, a bilingual or trilingual person is more independent than a person who speaks only one language.

Theres much more to life than memorizing English texts! A child will use and take pleasure in a language only when he can effortlessly speak it.

Do you speak and write in English as freely as in Russian? If so you are bilingual or you are a part of 6% of people who wearable to reach this skill through studying at an adult age. Commonly, such people lived in English-speaking countries. When a grow-up person says he learned English at school or at university, so why cant his own child learn in the same way  it generally is a display of bravado.

Youve hardly learned much compared to a bilingual. Look, can you think, dream in English? Do you understand everything while watching TV in English or listening to a song in English?

Even at the level you have mastered today, you got there through huge efforts and weariness. Think, how much time have you spent on memorizing mostly useless phrases and texts, doing monotone and often boring work learning a new language at an adult age?!  Dont make you child engage in such a thankless task when they are older.

SECURITY

In Great Britain, not everybody can get nanny qualifications. It requires extensive knowledge of child development and a big sense of responsibility. In Britain, it is considered a prestigious job.

An English nanny requires a high professionalism based on an excellent education,  good manners and etiquette and, of course, impeccable English which is so important today. In Great Britain, professional nannies and governesses are  highly-remunerated, and their prestigious work constantly is requested in the whole world. There is a range of recognized institutes like Norland, Chiltern Nannies, London Montessori Nanny school and more where tuition costs some thousand GPB per semester.   Qualified nannies attend special 2-3 year-long courses on child development from 0 to 7 y.o. (see the link to Childcare development certificates (nannies and governesses). These courses provide them with theoretical and empirical knowledgepertaining to childrens physical and social development in addition to their educational and intellectual and emotional needs at different age.  Questions of correct daily care and health are studied, along with early development, developing games, pediatric first aid (first aid to a child in case of accident),  illness treatment and its prophylaxis,  childs psychology,  nanny-family relationships, working with parents ;  and parents` post-natal psychology. A nanny studies nearly 18 disciplines on childcare. A special course - Creative Skills - teaches a nanny how to develop a child with the help of games and creative practices. A nanny must know how to react correctly to a childs provocative behavior, and she must orientate herself to a childs mood and respond accordingly.

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