The basic need of the young child

Young children learn language naturally and unconsciously. They have the ability to imitate pronunciation and work out the rules the basic need of the young child themselves. Any idea that learning to talk in English is difficult does not occur to them unless it’s suggested by adults, who themselves probably learned English academically at a later age through grammar-based text books. Read the notes below about young children learning English as another language.

You can also download these notes as a booklet. Right-click on the link below to download the booklet to your computer. The advantages of beginning early Young children are still using their individual, innate language-learning strategies to acquire their home language and soon find they can also use these strategies to pick up English. Young children have time to learn through play-like activities. They pick up language by taking part in an activity shared with an adult. They firstly make sense of the activity and then get meaning from the adult’s shared language. Young children have more time to fit English into the daily programme.

School programmes tend to be informal and children’s minds are not yet cluttered with facts to be stored and tested. They may have little or no homework and are less stressed by having to achieve set standards. Children who have the opportunity to pick up a second language while they are still young appear to use the same innate language-learning strategies throughout life when learning other languages. Picking up third, fourth, or even more languages is easier than picking up a second.