Yes, Bilingual By Five is an approved long day care centre provider. Our first centre (in Perth CBD) opened in August 2018.
Families of any language backgrounds are welcome. The centre caters for any parents who would like their child to have access to a bilingual environment growing up, with a particular focus on children from non-Chinese speaking families.
Our specialised bilingual syllabus supports both Mandarin and English language development simultaneously. It’s also beneficial for children with a Mandarin background to be at the centre as they will naturally communicate their home language with other children from English speaking backgrounds and vice versa.
Children in many places around the world grow in bilingual environments without any distress because of the language environment. We don’t expect the bilingual environment to be the reason for distress as our educators strive to make our bilingual program as natural as possible and build both languages into everyday routines.
There are however various reasons as to why a child might be distressed in an early learning center. For example, transitions between the home environment to a new kindergarten environment might be stressful for most children – especially those who are more reserved. They might feel confused or lonely.
Our staff understand that while transitions are generally stressful, children also possess resilience and also the importance of good relationships and building trust with both the child and their families in minimising every party’s distress during these transitions.
It is natural for children to have a preference in interacting with particular educator (especially when distressed). We do expect that children will initially draw to educators that speak their home language, however this is usually only for a short transitional period.
Our environment will be such where communicating in both languages is natural and commonplace for all involved. The varying levels of mandarin used, will be catered to each child’s language proficiency as well as their developmental age.
Research has shown that there are at least 3 factors that may influence the progress that a child makes in the second-language acquisition process.
- Motivation: The best motivation for learning is having a use or need for the learning content. An environment in which a second language is used creates that need and will be a motivating factor to be children to learn. Our Mandarin syllabus is also interactive, fun and tailored for young children. However, as with all learning, different children will have different motivation levels and come to enjoy learning at different times and in different ways.
- Exposure: Generally, the more a child is exposed to a language environment, the faster the child will acquire the language. Active engagement is also beneficial to language acquisition. At Bilingual by Five, your child will be exposed and actively engaged in a second language environment all day, each day they are at the centre.
- Personality: Researchers studying young childrens second-language-learning acquisition have observed that there seems to be a personality continuum stretching from shy and reserved at one end to outgoing and socially tuned in at the other end. Where a child’s personality can be located along this continuum may have an impact on how quickly that child learns a second language. This is because a child that is more reserved and shy is more likely to approach the second language with more caution, or take a long time to go public with their newly acquired language skills.
To summarise, every child acquires languages at different rates and stages. However at our centre, children will be given the best opportunity to acquire another language as best they can before they start school.
We welcome all children regardless of their learning abilities, prior experience or background. Our program and syllabus is designed to take into account all children’s social, cultural and linguistic diversity (including learning styles, abilities, disabilities, gender, family circumstances and geographic location) in decision-making processes.
We are intentional in ensuring that children have equitable access to resources, participation, and opportunities to demonstrate their learning. If your child has learning difficulties, or should you have any concerns, please contact us and we can arrange for an appointment to discuss how we can support your child’s holistic development and learning.
Research has shown that even infants are able to hear and distinct the patterns and rhythms of different languages that they are exposed to. Furthermore, many studies have shown that the early years (0-8) is considered to be an optimal language acquisition period for children, as they have the biologically innate capability to acquire and develop language. Children are able to acquire up to 7 or more language easily given the environment they are exposed to.
Confusion is a normal part of all learning processes, including learning two languages. However, children’s cognitive functioning is especially quick and flexible during the early years. With the support of the educators and caregivers, these confusions are quickly dissolved and further strengthen the child’s second language acquisition.
Children grow up in all kinds of bilingual or multilingual settings. It doesn’t matter if they hear the same parent speaking several languages (that’s normal life). It doesn’t matter if people begin a sentence in one language and end in another, because language is a part of every day life not a subject to be taught.
Children that are bilingual before starting school have the best foundation for being bilingual for life. However as with most skills, we can lose what we don’t use. As such, we encourage parents to keep their kids speaking a second language after starting school.
No, speak whatever language with your kids you feel most comfortable. However if you’d like to encourage your kids in their learning journey, learning alongside your kids with our ‘Learn with your kids’ program will help and it’s lots of fun!
We speak Chinese Mandarin (often referred as just Chinese). Mandarin is the official language/dialect in China, Taiwan and is also the formal language of instruction for overseas Chinese. We think that learning any second language is great for kids, but Chinese will be especially useful because of the below reasons:
- artistic & fun language, made up of pictorial characters
- plenty of people to practice with (over 1.2 billion speakers worldwide)
- the language of Australia’s largest trading partner
- the language of the world’s 2nd largest economy, expected to be the largest by 2030
Don’t miss out!
Register your interest to attend Perth’s first English-Mandarin Early Learning Centre.