As a parent, are you familiar with bilingual education in kindergarten? The term ‘bilingual education’ pertains to the systematic use of two languages in the course or programme of a student. The word bilingual originated in the 1835 to 1845s. The first records of the word state that bilingual has two root words, bi- meaning ‘two’ and -lingual, which basically means ‘pertaining to languages’. However, the word lingual also shares a root word with other words, such as linguistics or linguaphile.
In the 1960s, bilingual education started as a teaching technique for non-English speaking students but can also work for teaching English-speaking students learning a foreign language. The bilingual programmeaims to teach students and master their second language through academic studies.
If you’re planning to enrol your kid in kindergarten in Singapore, consider immersing them in bilingual education in kindergarten. Here are some of the advantages of the bilingual programme.
1. IT IS EASY FOR CHILDREN TO LEARN A SECOND LANGUAGE.
Children exposed to bilingual education in kindergarten or early childhood have better mind functionality. They can easily pick up a second language twice faster than adults. Because children have a more active brain and are more curious, they efficiently absorb any information, particularly complex ones. Thus, the process of learning a first language works similarly to the process of learning a second language, encouraging development in children as well.
2. IT CREATES AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EARLY DIVERSITY.
As soon as children step into kindergarten in Singapore, you welcome opportunities for them. What more if you immerse them in a bilingual programme? When you expose them to bilingual education in kindergarten, you are creating a path towards early diversity. They will be more aware of cultural issues, same-gender marriages, racial discrimination, religion, immigration, and other social and cultural issues. Bilingual education offers them a chance to meet and make new friends, have fun and, at the same time, be challenged at school and celebrate the diversity found in human cultures. As a parent, let them learn from their cultural and social differences instead of letting them be scared of them.
3. IT WIDENS THEIR FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES.
A bilingual programmeallows children to be fluent in two languages. Nowadays, having proficiency in two or more languages is one of the things most companies look for in a candidate. As early as childhood, create numerous professional opportunities for your child and let them learn new languages.
4. IT IMPROVES THE WORKING MEMORY OF CHILDREN.
Bilingual education in kindergartenalso helps improve their working memory. With the help of a bilingual programme, they get exposed to activities, lessons, and tasks that enhance their processing capabilities. In addition, students studying a bilingual programmebenefit from lower anxiety levels and fewer mental health risks.
5. IT ENCOURAGES THEIR WISDOM.
Over time, your child develops wisdom from different circumstances and personal experiences. By enrolling your kid in bilingual education in kindergarten, you are exposing them to more situations that can test their intelligence. With greater wisdom, they can make better decisions, building a foundation for a better life.
6. IT CAN BE AN AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITY.
Having after-school activities is one of the advantages of enrolling your child in bilingual kindergarten in Singapore. While immersing them in an extra-curricular program works effectively, it can also be a good idea to make them stay at home, especially these days, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Involving them in fully bilingual education in kindergarten can start their learning process. Plus, it can also be one way to keep them not solely focused on gadgets, social media, and the internet.
LEARNING THE DISADVANTAGES OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION
1. LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE CAN BE INCONSISTENT.
In some schools, they stop their bilingual education when students step into high school, while some don’t really offer bilingual programmeoptions. Due to this inconsistency, some students lose their abilities and capabilities in speaking their second language. For a bilingual education in kindergartento work, it must be continuous, meaning they need to use, learn, and study it every day. It must continue throughout the education of the students who participate in it.
2. LEARNING SPECIFIC CONTENT IS A TOUGH TASK.
Young children, especially those studying kindergarten in Singapore, may find some tasks and lessons difficult. Learning a specific second-language content can be challenging. While they learn different concepts from other subject areas, they also need to study and master the language taught to them. If they struggle with dividing their attention between academics and learning a second language, it could take a toll on their education.
3. IT IS SOMEHOW EXPENSIVE.
Unfortunately, most bilingual programmes for kindergarten or preschoolers are expensive. Because of its prices, most schools remove the bilingual programmefrom their academic curriculum. Adding a bilingual education is something many schools can’t do due to its expensive rates. A single-language program, say English classes, is much more affordable and manageable to operate and teach students.
4. THERE ARE ONLY A FEW QUALIFIED TEACHERS AND ASSISTANTS.
Another reason most schools opt not to push bilingual education in kindergartenis the lack of qualified teachers and assistants. Again, a bilingual programmemust be immersive and continuous to ensure students are learning. Schools must have instructors who are fluent and have high proficiency in both languages they are teaching. Nowadays, many teachers are struggling with meeting the minimum requirements organised by the educational institution.
5. IT CAN SHIFT THEIR FOCUS.
Unfortunately, the shifted focus is one of the disadvantages commonly seen in children studying a bilingual programme. Some students struggle with learning the second language because they focus on the first one. They get challenged with managing their time and attention on which language to study first. If the student consistently focuses on the first language, they may fall behind on the second language and struggles to keep up with the coursework.
Bilingual education in kindergartenenables these young kids to develop their comprehensive abilities and cognitive capacities by learning a second language. Moreover, it also helps them improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. With good proficiency in the two languages taught in their bilingual programme, more and more opportunities will come their way. They may excel in their academic studies, create more chances of living and working in different places across the globe, or widen their career paths.
Bilingual education in kindergartendoesn’t only help these young kids master two languages at the same time but also enhances their understanding of each culture. Consider immersing your child in a bilingual programmeand let them explore the cultural differences across the world.
If you want to immerse your child in a kindergarten school in Singapore, let The Little Skool House take care of your little one. Contact them at +65 6509 7880 to enquire or visit their site to schedule a visit to their childcare centre in Woodlands.