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Old 29.11.2017, 22:55
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How quick kids pick up english language?

Hello,

We are interested to hear opinions and experiences on how quick kids 4 years old pick up English language skills.

We currently live in the French part of Switzerland in Neuchatel and our daughter 4.5 years old goes to the local school there. She speaks Russian at home and French in school and after-school-care.

We plan to temporarily move to Basel for the period from Jan’18 until Aug’18 and then return to Neuchatel in Aug’18. During this time, our daughter will go to a new school in Basel and we are hesitating between French school (Ecole Francais de Bale) and English school (Ela Basel), both have confirmed the availability.

French school is an easy option and will be no stress for everybody. English school might be more stress as her current English skills is zero, but as the result we hope she can pick up English conversational basics during the 6 months full time immersion which would be great.

How quick have your kids picked up English or another language from zero? Is the 6 months a too short period and too stressful at the age of 4.5yo?

Thanks,
Elena
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Old 29.11.2017, 23:08
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

Really quickly! I am English, but was living in Germany when my first 2 were born. I only spoke English and my [ex] wife only German to the kids. Although the kids would only speak in German unless they realised that they weren't being understood for the first few years, they reacted to things like getting on the ferry - from getting on at Calais they would only speak English until getting back on at Dover for the return! Kids don't have the inhibitions that adults have and will do just fine. How old are they?
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Old 29.11.2017, 23:10
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

Sorry - just read the ages - let's not talk about how well grown men multi-task at this time of night!
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Old 29.11.2017, 23:49
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

Our 3.5 years old has started attending the pre-kindergarten at the end of august so it has been more or less 3 months already and the results are just great. He can count till ten, sometimes in different orders but still He is good with colours and the usual introducing part, ie name/family name/age. He also picked up the most important stuff such as ‘clean up time’ ‘stop it’ ‘ this is wrong’ etc. Lakeside School Horgen (name of the kindergarten/school), is actually bilingual and therefore it is not only English but also in German which he is not that good but we all know that it will come.
He attends classes every week day, from 8:30 till 15:45 except wednesdays which are generally forest days and until 12:30. I am just telling so you can calculate how many classes/hours he is having per week.
I would definitely go for the English kindergarten...
Good luck
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Old 30.11.2017, 00:12
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

I think it really depends on your child. Moving cities can be big for some children. My oldest son was 5yrs when we came to Switzerland a few years ago and stayed for 11 months, with him being in kindergarten most of that time. He coped really well even though he couldn't communicate, at that age language wasn't too much of an issue for him. When we left a year later the only things he could say were the numbers 1-10 in Swiss German. My husband speaks Swiss German, and German but English is his more comfortable language so he wasn't very good at speaking with the children in Swiss German. We have been here a year now and my youngest does not communicate much in German, seems like he understands quite a bit. Oldest speaks in German in last couple of months, with mistakes but he resisted trying for a long time).
My second born child is totally different and it takes him a while to get used to things. He was 5.5 when we got here this time. He really felt comfortable with everyone after at about 3-4 months. He is now 6.5 years. Luckily, he is a really positive/happy child so it was still possible.
If changing cities is going to be a big change for your daughter keeping French may be the best option for that time period, unless one of you intends to keep the language up afterwards? Of course, I wish now that I had been exposed to languages as a child! Whatever decision will end up working
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Old 30.11.2017, 00:13
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

How we learn and the speed at which we learn always depends on the individual. Research has shown recently that there is a small developmental period or 'window' for learning new languages and it is said to be between the ages of 2-10 years. I think that it would be a good opportunity for her to grasp the English language as it is quite a dominant language and the more languages you can speak the better in my opinion.
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Old 30.11.2017, 06:52
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

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Research has shown recently that there is a small developmental period or 'window' for learning new languages and it is said to be between the ages of 2-10 years.
Interesting as I learned all my foreign languages older than that.

OP, is your kid interested in languages you think? It is only for a short period so it can be fun or difficult. Why not keep her on a French school? She will learn English later on anyway
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Old 30.11.2017, 11:21
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

I agree with the research - kids brains are sponges! At that age they are learning new words regardless of language. It doesn't mean you can't learn later - I didn't learn German until I was 23, but kids don't care if they get it wrong - they are quite happy to try a word and see if it works. There is also research backing up the theory that it helps develop the brain and increase learning ability. I was a lecturer for 8 years and think it would be great for them - maybe have a plan B if you feel they are really not enjoying it. Being happy is probably the most important factor in ensuring learning takes place. (Maslows heirachy of needs).
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Old 30.11.2017, 11:28
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

Of course you can always learn a language at any time. It is just easier the younger you are as your Brain in still developing in my opinion.
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Old 12.12.2017, 14:10
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

Greetings from Australia,
It was good to read that there is thinking in the bilingual direction in the school system at home. Our kids are currently enrolled in a bilingual school here in Melbourne. We had been homeschooling but due to family stress started looking around at the govt. schools in our area. We were pleasantly happy to find our current primary school and the program they offer. The school is teaching a bilingual program in Eng and Japanese. The kids get 8 hours of Japanese a week. Half of these hours focus on the reading/writing/speaking but then art, music and sport are also all in Japanese. I was a bit sceptical about how much my children would learn due to only having English speaking parents. We have been pleasantly surprised at the amount of understanding the kids have gained in only two years. Our eldest is reading in hiragana and katakana plus writing and speaking. The second one is almost finished with her katakana learning. The youngest is in prep and just starting out but already retaining.

According to this site and home page data, there are several bilingual govt. schools in Melbourne each offering their language of choice. Just thought I would write to encourage you all to keep pursuing this avenue. It is possible and it can work well. Oh and there is no need for expensive private schools or private tutors with this system.
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Old 13.12.2017, 10:06
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

Our daughter has learned English (she is 6 now) via youtube.... she was watching English cartoons and other Elsia and Annia stuff and then played the same scenes with her dolls... She started when she was 3-4 yrs old now I would say she is fluent in English.

So everything is possible....
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Old 17.12.2017, 00:22
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

Thanks to everyone for the different perspective on the subject.
I agree with the majority of comments that it could be a great opportunity at this age as children like sponges should pick up a new language without an issue, and as an adult I wish I had such a chance when I was a child.
Nevertheless we decided to go for a french school considering psychological aspects: our daughter has just started to feel confident in french speaking environment and moving cities, changing school, classmates etc. will be on top of another big thing in her life as we expect a second child birth in December.
All together might be just too much, and all I wish is that she doesn't loose a self confidence which is establishing at this age as well.
Hopefully the English will come anyway during her studies in the future, so let's see
Thanks again for all the replies!
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Old 17.12.2017, 08:57
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

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Thanks to everyone for the different perspective on the subject.
I agree with the majority of comments that it could be a great opportunity at this age as children like sponges should pick up a new language without an issue, and as an adult I wish I had such a chance when I was a child.
Nevertheless we decided to go for a french school considering psychological aspects: our daughter has just started to feel confident in french speaking environment and moving cities, changing school, classmates etc. will be on top of another big thing in her life as we expect a second child birth in December.
All together might be just too much, and all I wish is that she doesn't loose a self confidence which is establishing at this age as well.
Hopefully the English will come anyway during her studies in the future, so let's see
Thanks again for all the replies!
Good for you, to be sensitive to your child’s emotional and psychological needs! She has already acquired two languages, so she is ahead of the curve! However, for such a short time, her well being is of greater importance, in my humble opinion.

Not to say, she can’t learn another language, like the others mentioned. Just don’t confuse this with the circumstances. Again, IMO.

All the best🌹
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Old 17.12.2017, 09:29
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

Moonflower,
great decision, especially with a sibling coming into the mix. Sounds like lovely times ahead for you
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Old 17.12.2017, 12:22
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Re: How quick kids pick up english language?

I am sure you have made the right decision- happiness is the most important consideration, and I wish you lots of it! All my best wishes for you and your family.
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