Age: 3-6 years
Mejiro: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Mitaka: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Wisdom Academy is offering an after school 2-hour English class for children 3 – 6 years of age. This new class will be offered three to four days a week depending on the location. The class will be structured with “Circle Time”, which will involve singing and reading, an English Lesson followed by ten minutes snack time, then Arts and Crafts.
The benefits for young children being introduced to English in a fun environment, with less emphasis on formal language study, and introducing vocabulary and language through play, song, and arts, are twofold. Firstly, studies have shown that for preschool learning environments, formal approaches do not motivate the children to learn, and is better suited to older children. Young children involved in play and games often act out quite sophisticated use of language, if they are introduced to language through song, dance, or story, and followed up with something they can apply it to, like a painting on the same theme. This is well documented in the research on early learning environments. Secondly, this is how children learn language and other important developmental skills from early in their childhood, so it is a more natural and stimulating way for them to learn. Even toddlers are experimenting with language when they play with toys and making something out of clay, or even painting simple picture ‘stories’.
The other main benefit of early childhood learning is one that we all know. Young children learn things quickly, and better, the earlier they are introduced to it. Again, many studies in early childhood language learning show that children are much more receptive to a second language the earlier it is introduced, especially if it is introduced through play, and a less structured environment. Some argue that children should focus on their mother tongue first before introducing a second language, but there is no empirical evidence to show that learning a second language interferes with their first language development. In fact there are many benefits to children learning a second language before they begin formal schooling. Bilingual children are able to think and adapt to new ideas better than children who are monolingual, This is well documented in bilingual research studies. It is also very beneficial for a child’s intellectual development and thinking, and creative skills. Think of the benefits to a child who can communicate in two different languages. They are able to interact with the world in a different way; this has great benefits to them that they can carry through into their later childhood when they are introduced to a second language in a more formal classroom setting.
In fact some who study early childhood language, say that there is a Critical Age Period during which, if children are exposed to second language, they will develop a native-like use of that language, whereas if they are not exposed to that language until later in childhood they will not acquire a native-like ability.