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Old 23.02.2012, 20:37
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Bilingual school for 5 year old

Hi

I just want some opinions about bilingual school for my daughter. We live on French side of the border near Basel and she attends a bilingual Ecole Maternelle.

She is in her second year there and has only been in the French classes so far. Just to give her time to get use to French. I would love her to learn German too, which is offered. Her command of French is now pretty good, she gets a few things mixed up, but I have been told that she is almost fluent by native French speakers. I only speak English, and outside of school she wouldn't have a great deal of German input. Do you think that this would be a great problem?

Should I just leave her with the just the French classes? I don't want to stress her or put unnecessary pressure on her. Just wonder what others may think or give their experiences.

Ta very muchly
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Old 24.02.2012, 09:50
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Re: Bilingual school for 5 year old

Our children are tri-lingual, French, German, English. Started with two languages and 3rd introduced slightly later at age 4, so as to overwhelm too much. French and german formally taught at school, and english-german at home, with a bit of french thrown in. They have no problem whatsoever now with the 3 languages, but it is a lot of work to keep up 3 languages at their age/grade level. I've let the english slip, as they are intensively learning grammer and spelling in two other languages at the moment, and it would be too much. When learning to read, I found it best to focus on just the one language, as it gets too confusing for them. But oldest can read/write in all 3, making the most errors in English though.

It will be somewhat challenging for you though as a parent, if not fluent in French & German, when you have to help out with the German and French homework, spelling tests, prouniciation, etc.... in that sense it is often harder for the parent than the child.

I guess that if your child's future education and work prospects are higher in german speaking area than french speaking area, starting german now would only be an advantage.
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