There is a common saying in child second language education: ‘the earlier the better’, which is certainly true if children learn the language somewhere where it is spoken all the time, or if they learn in an immersion context at school, for example. But for children who begin a second language ‘late’ in life, around age seven, and receive only a few hours of instruction at most each week, it is not quite the same.
Teachers generally agree that children need to learn basic foundations skills such as counting and number bonds, the alphabet and phonics to ensure solid and rapid progress in Literacy and Numeracy. Gaps in foundation knowledge can mean slower and possibly discouraging progress for a child.
All our programmes impart basic foundation skills to help children make solid and rapid progress in language learning. The programmes are based around Esperanto, which has an internationally-based vocabulary and a regular grammar system. It is a brilliant introduction to language learning generally. As a living language, it nevertheless allows children to enjoy a complete language experience, a practice-run for when they begin learning one of the KS2 languages. The result is faster and more solid progress in language learning and, importantly, children tend to finish the course with a very positive image of themselves as good language learners.
Language programmes and materials
In some schools, materials are used at KS1 to lay foundations for other-language teaching at KS2. Our courses work particularly well with KS1 children.
In others, materials are used for 10 minutes or so at the beginning of language lessons at KS2 as a quick introduction and primer.