Which languages for my child?
La Petite Ecole Bilingue has over forty years of expertise in teaching languages.
Originally, our first nurseries, founded in 1978, were mainly aiming to teach French to children living in London. But from the very beginning the school was including hours of English classes as well. Soon it became obvious we had to go bilingual.
With families becoming more and more mobile, Lady Anne Henderon-Stewart, quite visionary, started looking at multilingualism as a necessity and introduced a pioneer bilingual school in Paris with a 50/50 % teaching. In twenty years the success of this formule magique has been so popular among families willing to raise their children with at least two languages, that she decided to reset her London school as a bilingual one.
From the very early beginning of the Paris school she introduced a Russian department for those willing to acquire a third language.
But why French and English? And more over, why Russian?
When it comes to learning a language, you first need to look at the materials/resources availability and usefulness. In those matters choice of English/French combined with Russian is quite wise. We also love to promote Arabic and Chinese, but with less focus for now due to its difficulty for speakers of Indo-European languages. Many of our pupils will certainly be able to learn those languages later on in their lives and we encourage their curiosity for other languages.
Are materials and other resources available for the language you want to learn? Are there classes in your area? For the popular languages, like French, Spanish and German, this shouldn't be a issue, but it may be difficult to find resources and/or classes for the lesser-studied languages.
If you want to learn a language with a large number of speakers and which is spoken in many countries, the ones to choose in order of 'usefulness' are: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Japanese, Portuguese and Hindi/Urdu.
This list is based on the number of speakers, the number and population of countries where the languages are spoken, the number of major fields using the languages internationally, the economic power of countries using the languages, and their socio-literary prestige.
For a breakdown of these factors see: http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm
Each language presents you with a different set of challenges. Languages might have complex inflectional systems, complex writing systems, irregular spelling systems, and/or complex phonology. Generally the more a language differs from your L1 or other languages you know, the harder it is to learn.
At our school we welcome children from all backgrounds and find usually that we have about 40% of children who speak three or sometimes four languages.
Our pupils also learn Latin from year 3, in order to help them make connections between those languages they own or are in the process of acquiring.
Proud we are of our pupils for we know languages are an invaluable gift for life !