Other languages for kids
Welcome back after the summer break! This month I’m going to tempt you with other languages for kids as here in Madrid our children are lucky enough to be given a solid education in English from a very early age. So how about branching out and trying your children with another language too? If taught in a fun relaxed way, most kids pick up a third language easily and gain an insight into how many different ways there are to say the colours of the rainbow or the days of the week!
The big question is: If you could be trilingual, which languages would you choose?
Mandarin is becoming a popular third language choice among bicultural and bilingual families. In fact Chinese classes are offered as after school activities in most private schools in Madrid.
Companies such as Enjoy Mandarin are building up a solid reputation for providing a complete and comprehensive introduction to Chinese language and culture for Spanish children as young as six months old.
Enjoy Mandarin place special emphasis on the fun element of learning a language so completely different to the ones we speak in the West. They offer a wide range of services from formal classes, to fully qualified nannies, to play groups, all aimed at introducing Chinese from a very early age.
The debate about the decline of French as a taught language in British and Spanish schools is a long and bitterly fought one. As a mum of two children who go to a school where German and Chinese are taught but not French, I find myself searching for options to teach my children this beautiful and incredibly versatile language.
If I were to recommend just one article advocating French as a useful second (or third) language on this subject I would point you in this direction:
More intelligent Life
My research has been fruitful and although I haven’t found any French playgroups in Madrid (please write to us at Kids in Madrid if such groups do exist), I have found plenty of language academies and institutes which offer classes in French from the age of 4 upwards (alliance française; Green Monkey; Madrid School etc).
The Institut Français appears to offer an interesting mix of cultural events and workshops for youngsters called Chiquitecas (Institut Français) although their agenda for this new academic year has not yet been published. I also found an interesting company called Petit Chefs Madrid that offer cookery classes in French for children:
German classes are offered in language academies across the city for youngsters from as young as four years old. However there appears to be a lack of playgroups or workshops for children where they can learn German through play or be exposed to Germanic culture. Again, if anyone knows any different, please drop us a line. It would be insightful to know the full range of activities offered for youngsters in German here in Madrid, especially given this language’s growing popularity as third language taught at many Primary and Secondary schools.
I look forward to receiving this month’s feedback. I’d love to try out fun workshops in other languages with my two kids!
Take a look at the Education section of our blog to find information on different courses and activities for kids.