Teddy Bear - English for kids and teens - Inglês especializado para crianças e adolescentes



Benefits of acquiring a foreign language in childhood

» Childhood is a period of great importance for learning and for the development of a healthy adult. From birth, children receive stimuli that enable learning situations. Due to this belief, the Teddy Bear School seeks to make any learning situation a pleasurable and enriching experience.

» The 90s were baptized as the decade of the brain, due to several surveys undertaken in a number of countries. These studies provide sufficient data and support that strengthen and benefit the idea that learning a foreign language can and should start early.

» Such research have pointed out, and our experience has proven the many benefits of learning a foreign language at an early age.

» When experiencing a foreign language, children are exposed to different languages, such as spoken, audiovisual, and body language, among others. Through these experiences, all children have the opportunity to hear and tell stories, sing and dance, run and jump, color and cut, play and dramatize, planting, participate in culinary experiences, in short, using their senses and expressing their feelings.

» It is by listening and speaking, that the child learns English at Teddy Bear, where all stages of development, both emotional and intellectual, as well as the acquisition of a second language, are encouraged and respected.

The benefits of learning English prior to the literacy phase

» One of the parents’ concerns at the time of enrolling their illiterate child in a language school is whether the new learning will not interfere with the acquisition of the mother tongue, and whether the notions of a second language (L2) even before becoming literate in their first language (L1) will place a burden on the child.

» Studies indicate that the acquisition of speech sounds in L1 should happen around the age of 5 and it is after this age that children are formally involved in reading and writing activities in school. Contact with these skills assist in achieving the spoken language and stimulate the perception of the relationship between sounds and letters.

» When a new language is presented in its oral form to children who have not yet consolidated their writing skills in their L1 language, students assimilate it without generating any interference in the L1 system, since the child is not required to represent the content learned in its written form. It is true that children will have cognitive work to create two linguistic systems, but their brain is ready and capable of meeting this challenge. Illiterate children can easily switch from one thing to another. It is a known fact that babies have the potential to acquire any language that is presented to them in a social context. As children receive linguistic information, they organize and store them, forming the system of sounds and possibilities of language use.

» When a child is exposed to more than one language, he or she will categorize the information of the two languages (for example, that which belongs to the English system and that which belongs to the Portuguese system) and he or she will store them in two separate systems. The sooner the child starts the process, the less interference from L1 (the most present in the child's life) will be observed in L2, both for pronunciation and for grammar.

» Specifically in relation to literacy, we know that it happens only once in life and it should be done preferably in the native language of the student. After becoming literate in their L1, at around seven years of age, the child will be encouraged to create new strategies for reading and writing that are appropriate to the new language. The educator, at this time, should help the student identify and use strategies applicable to both languages and test new ways of dealing with the challenge, considering the specificities of the L2.

» At Teddy Bear, for students aged from 2 to at least 7 years of age, English is restricted to oral communication in a playful and creative context of games and fantasies. In general, learning English at Teddy Bear can and should be associated with the joy of learning and experiencing relevant experiences that stimulate the learning of the new language both in terms of oral and written communication, always in a fun and meaningful way.

» Students of Teddy Bear convey their oral English communication and Portuguese reading and writing skills, with the mediation of Cultural Educators, to obtain success with English reading and writing skills.

» It is important that the school provides children with an environment that encourages the use of the new language naturally and through authentic, relevant and real situations of human interaction in the foreign language. Learning an L2 in the early years of life will have a positive impact, but not necessarily immediate, on students. Due to learning in a natural way, the child will assimilate the basics of the new language and will find it easier to communicate fluently from the time at which he or she starts to receive content that is more complex. Learning a new language when your brain is in the process of systematization of linguistic information will make all the difference in the quality of the use of this language.