Bilingual school for monolingual household

(9 Posts)
allyfe Fri 14-Jun-13 21:44:45

I am seriously considering sending my children to a bilingual primary school. The school suggests that there would be no need for the children to speak French at home (which we don't). They will be using (it is a new free school) immersive techniques. I just wondered if anyone had any experience of sending their children to a bilingual school when they didn't speak the second language at home? Thanks!

LostInWales Fri 14-Jun-13 21:48:02

My children have all gone to a bilingual school and I don't speak the language (Welsh in our case), my eldest son now does all his secondary education in Welsh as well and is flying. We often see people who move here when their children are older (say 7/8 years) and they are immersed in the language at school and by the time they have been here 18 months speak fluently. Childrens brains are amazingly adaptable.

Lcy Fri 14-Jun-13 21:51:09

I am in the same situation at LostinWales. My daughter goes to a welsh medium primary school. Her Welsh is amazing and her teacher reported she was fluent at the end of her first year. She has never questioned it - it is just the way you speak at school!

LostInWales Fri 14-Jun-13 22:07:53

It is amazing, I did some reading in school to help out (I've got the hang of Welsh myself in the 10 years since DS1 started school!) and the children who I know only started last year can read beautifully. When it is the only language everyone speaks in school it seems to bed in amazingly quickly. (They are nice to new children, the teachers say it in Welsh first and then repeat in English until they start to get the hang of things). Nice to see another mum Lcy, are you south or north?

Wuldric Fri 14-Jun-13 22:11:47

It depends. I went to a french speaking school when we did not speak french at home. Oddly enough, it is very easy in the early years. Children absorb language like a sponge and I excelled in French, and regularly used to come top of the class ahead of native french speakers.

It is much harder in the later years though, and not speaking the language at home starts really to tell.

Lcy Fri 14-Jun-13 22:23:24

North. How about you?

LostInWales Fri 14-Jun-13 22:43:06

South West Lcy, my children probably speak an almost entirely different language to yours! We live in a pocket of almost entirely Welsh speaking education. I imagine it's more widespread where you are.

agreenmouse Sat 15-Jun-13 08:02:52

I experienced a trilingual education myself, as did two of my dcs (France and Central & South America).

Bear in mind that the language of the playground will be the native language of the majority of the pupils.

One of the schools my dcs went to for a couple of years was a bilingual school in Buenos Aires. Longterm it would have been excellent, and it was still a very good experience, but the standard of English spoken and written by the students was weaker than the Spanish at the stage my dcs were at because the vast majority of students were native Spanish speakers. At the top end of the school students left completely bilingual with extensive qualifications in both languages.

Trained as a teacher of Modern Languages many years ago, I have used my background and experience of raising dcs, two in a bilingual environment, one not, to create:
A Green Mouse
Friendly listening practice in French and Spanish for anyone who would like to help themselves.

I like telling 'stories' but I am also covering more traditional topics - parts of the body, food and drink, etc.. etc..

allyfe Mon 24-Jun-13 12:40:14

Thank you everyone. Your responses and experiences are all really interesting and helpful.

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