Worried about your multilingual child forgetting their home (mother tongue) language? Here’s how UWCSEA’s Home Language Programme can help…
Listening to multilingual kids seamlessly switch from one language to another is nothing short of amazing. And, the longer they are in an English-speaking environment, the more likely it is you will hear them conversing in English as easily as they do in their mother tongue. But what happens when they’re constantly exposed to English – in the classroom at school, navigating their community and in the playground with their friends? Will they retain their mother tongue language skills? That’s where UWCSEA’s Home Language Programme comes in. It’s a leading programme that helps families whose children are multilingual retain their home languages (which is what they call a mother tongue), even if the language isn’t offered as part of the regular academic curriculum. Want to know more? Here’s what you need to know:
Being multilingual isn’t easy…
The ability to switch back and forth between languages has some awesome benefits. But the reality is, maintaining one’s multilingual abilities takes a lot of work. According to Eowyn Crisfield, a specialist in bilingualism, language learning and teaching, and bilingual education who visited UWCSEA Dover in November 2019, developing ‘native speaking’ proficiency in a language is like developing mastery in a skill such as a musical instrument, dance style, or specific sport. Interest, expert instruction, continued skill development and many hours of practice are just a few of the things required to excel in being multilingual. It also requires quite a bit of commitment from parents. This includes creating a Family Language plan and supporting children in their learning through practice at home and outside school.
The Home Language (mother tongue) programme at UWCSEA
To help students maintain and hone their mother tongue, UWCSEA offers a Home Language programme. Offered in small group classes at lunchtime or after school, qualified teachers support students in their Home Language literacy skills at age-appropriate levels. For younger children, lessons are focused on giving students experience speaking and listening to their home language in an environment other than the home. For older students, the programme is intended to help them develop literacy skills while maintaining a level of proficiency that may allow them into advanced classes all the way up to the IBDP level. Currently, UWCSEA offers these languages as part of the Home Language programme.
Want to know more? Book a school tour today and speak to one of its friendly admissions personnel.
This post is in partnership with UWCSEA.