It is very important that you speak, read and write with your child in your native language. You are your child’s first and most important educator. Your child will benefit most from learning from you in the language you know best.
Here are some ways you can speak, read and write with your child in your home language:
- Sing, talk, play number games and read in your home language.
- Speak your home language during family trips and celebrations.
- Speak to your child in your native language even if your child replies in English. This is so they can hear the differences between the two languages.
- Help your child with their homework in your native language. This will help them build skills at school. For example, if they learn math in your native language, they will understand how to do this in English.
There are many myths associated with bilingualism:
- Myth: It is easier to learn a second language if you stop using your native language and concentrate on the new language. Fact: The stronger the first language is, the easier it is to learn a second language.
- Myth: Parents should stop using their native language. Fact: It is important that parents continue to use their native language. When they do, they provide models of grammatically correct sentences and access to a wide vocabulary. It is therefore ideal that parents continue to use their native language to communicate with their child in everyday activities such as shopping, reading books, singing songs and playing games.
Research cited by the Victorian Education Department shows that speaking two or more languages from a young age stimulates their brain development and enhances English literacy skills. This helps your child:
- Become a better reader, listener and speaker
- Improves memory, concentration and numeracy skills
- Improves school performance
- Strengthens children’s sense of identity and their connection to family, community and culture
Bilingual children can tend to have higher scores in maths, reading and vocabulary tests. So being bilingual can also create more opportunities for your child later in life, particularly when they commence their career.
If you would like to learn more about understanding and supporting your child’s development, please contact The Northern Centre on 9334 0111 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to talk with one of their experienced Family Workers in a confidential setting.
They also welcome you to join their Dads&bubs supported playgroup which is on Saturday mornings in West Ryde.