Coast children can start their French lessons as young as 18 months.
Coast children can start their French lessons as young as 18 months. Contributed

The French connection

PARLEZ-vous français?

Sunshine Coast kids as young as 18 months will soon be able to reply "oui" to this question.

Brisbane-based language program Alpha Tykes has teamed up with Fruition Tuition to bring French language classes to Coast youngsters.

The classes are designed for children from 18 months to 12 years.

The brain is an amazing organ and during the childhood years, more is going on in a child's brain than is going to happen again.

For this reason, the environment and stimulation children receive in the first few years of their life are crucial and can have a huge impact on their learning capacity, behaviour and future success.

Numerous studies have proven the benefits of children learning a second language. It helps boost brain development, confidence and language capacity in the child's mother tongue.

Fruition Tuition Maroochydore owner Fiona Higgo said exposure to another language at a young age was important for a child's development.

The actual choice of language, whether it be French, Italian or Spanish, was less important.

"The language itself is not so important. There is plenty of evidence to support that the early learning experience expands the brain's language capability even in their own mother tongue," Ms Higgo said.

"Learning a foreign language from a young age builds confidence and a love of learning and can help children enhance their vocabulary, literacy and reading skills before they start school."

She said that allowing children to learn by other means rather than simply language rules helped to expand the brain's learning capabilities.

The lessons run by Alpha Tykes concentrate on teaching the children through a variety of fun and play-like methods that include music, singing, storytelling and creative and physical activities.

They learn counting, colours, family and animals in a way that mimics the natural process a child experiences when learning to talk.

Ms Higgo said this style of learning helped children pick up and absorb a new language much easier than an adult.

"Adults tend to be more hesitant to learn a language as they learn by rules," she said.

"And this learning method can be difficult to absorb."

Ms Higgo said it was never too early to start teaching a child a second language and 18 months was a good starting point as, at that age, most children had a grasp on their own language and could communicate verbally.

Ms Higgo said that once at school, children would only increase their language skills further if a different foreign language was offered to the one the child already spoke.

"In my experience, it doesn't confuse them," she said.

"It tends to work in their advantage and make them multilingual and they can easily switch between the languages."

The classes will be held in 10-week blocks, four times a year.

For more information or bookings, email Fiona@fruition.com.au or call 0438 580 061.



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