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How to support your child’s language learning at school with at home immersion

How to Support your Child's Language Learning at Home. Raising Bilingual Kids Series

As more and more students begin enrolling in language immersion programs outside the home, it is important for parents to find ways to support and engage in their children’s learning, even if they do not know the target language. In this video we are going to teach you how to create an immersion language learning experience at home for your children.

1. Read with them and to them 

When you read to your children regularly, you develop a love for reading. Reading is often one of the first skills children develop as they learn a new language, so it's a great way to get them excited about their progress. Depending on their age, you can read along with them by chapter or you can take turns reading each sentence to keep them busy. 

2. Encourage curiosity

Ask your children public questions about what they are learning in school. Encourage them to ask questions about the world around them. Curiosity is a fundamental ability of global leadership because global citizens have a real desire to know and experience the world. Language and culture are intertwined, so finding ways to discover what is happening outside of the student's immediate environment can also help in experiencing the breadth of language.

3. Applaud the effort

Emphasize the importance of learning a second language and recognize your student's progress and accomplishments. 

  • Did he finish his first book in the target language? 
  • Did they use a new word correctly? 
  • Did they try to improve their writing skills? 

Success doesn't matter, commend your child for his or her efforts and commitment to working towards their goals. As students become more enthusiastic about the progress they are making, their enthusiasm will continue to grow over time. 

4. Develop study skills

Ask the teacher how much homework is expected and set aside regular time to work on it. Remember that homework is a student's responsibility and follow them later to encourage them to be accountable. By emphasizing the importance of a strong work ethic, you are building a sense of pride in your child’s independence and their hard work and dedication to learning a new language. 

5. Become involved

Participate in your child's school experience by volunteering in the immersion classroom or by assisting with materials, activities, or field trips. If it is not possible to go to the classroom during the week, consider arranging play dates with classmates on the weekends so that they can practice their new language skills together. However, if you decide to get involved, understanding a little more about your child's classroom can be beneficial for both of you, and your child will appreciate the effort. 

6. Create cultural experiences

Take cultural experiences beyond the classroom. Take your child to an international event, such as a cultural festival. Visit a restaurant that offers authentic food related to your child’s target language. By finding ways to engage with organizations that offer cultural experiences in your area, your child will begin to feel more connected to their local community as well as to the larger global community.

7. Use technology

Use apps, movies, TV, or the Internet to maximize the amount of time your child spends engaging in immersive language. Do they have any favorite shows or movies that they watch? Set the language to the target language or add subtitles below so that they are learning the language around a familiar object. Also, using online language games can be a fun and interactive way to encourage language learning from home. 

8. Speak to teachers

Keep the lines of communication open. When talking to your child's teacher, be honest about your concerns and accept their advice. Language immersion teachers are experts in their field and you, as a parent, are experts in your child, so together you can find ways to promote learning at school and at home that are effective for your child's needs. Collaboration and listening are the keys to finding the best practices!