How long will it take for my child to learn a language / become fluent?
Just like learning your first language, learning a second language takes time. Language acquisition is a complex process, and many factors can affect how long it will take to become fluent, including age, frequency of instruction, practice, and even which language is being learned. It is important to have realistic expectations and to understand that language acquisition is a long-term process. However, there are things that you, as parents, can do to facilitate your child’s language acquisition, and we encourage parents to utilize our take-home materials for at-home reinforcement. Just as with learning any other skill, the more your child practices, the faster they will learn. Regardless of how long it takes to achieve fluency, it is worth noting that research has shown that learning a second language is beneficial for the brain and that these benefits can be observed at any age.
What happens when my child becomes ‘too old’ for your current class offerings?
Small World Languages was born out of the gap between when children should be learning languages and when the public school systems start to offer languages. We started by offering foreign language classes to young children (Ages 0-6), but our intention is to continue to expand and to grow with your children. [UPDATE: Our Summer 2018 session and beyond will include classes from Parent/Toddler all the way through Grade 5] It is our mission to be your source for foreign language education until you can rely on the public school system, or beyond. In some cases, this may mean that by the time your child reaches middle school or high school, they are already proficient in a second language and can use their high school years to learn a third language. We do no intend for our students to “age out” of our programs, and we actually offer classes for all ages, including adults. So join us, grow with us, and let’s give our children what our school systems have so far been unable to provide.
Are the age groupings a strict requirement?
For the most part, yes. Our instructors tailor the types of learning and classroom activities for the specific age groups of each class. During the initial registration period, we ask that you register your child for the appropriate age/grade level. However, based on the registrations we receive and the interest in each of the languages and age levels, it may be appropriate on a case-by-case basis to combine or alter the class schedules. If you have a situation that requires special attention, we invite you to check out our private or semi-private lessons or to contact us with your questions. Additionally, if you bring a group of 3 or more to us, we are happy to create a custom class for your specific needs at the class rate.
Are the parent/toddler classes appropriate for children from bilingual households?
Our parent/toddler classes are designed to be fun and interactive for children of all language abilities. While they provide early language exposure to children from single-language households, they also provide opportunities for fun social interaction, development of fine motor skills, practice following direction, and participation with confidence while reinforcing and expanding vocabulary for children from both single-language and bilingual households. Participation from bilingual families will only enhance the class experience by helping to foster an appreciation for cultural diversity both in our classes and in our community.
What type of training and requirements do your instructors have?
Our primary mission when hiring instructors is to ensure that they are able to provide a valuable experience to your children in learning a second language. All of our instructors have experience working with children and are passionate about teaching, speaking a second language, and expanding the horizons of our children. Our instructors have diverse backgrounds and encompass native foreign speakers with early childhood education experience and individuals with degrees in early childhood education, curricula development, and in foreign language education. We invite you to read more about each of our instructors on our “Our Staff” page.