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Is anyone worried about their bilingual child starting reception this September?

(11 Posts)
Amzyk1982 Mon 11-Jan-16 11:08:21

My DD attends nursery and I can hear that her English is poorer than her peers', her sentences are less complex and she doesn't have such rich vocabulary as her English-only speaking friends. Apart from the nursery we read English books and she watches English cartoons, but we speak Polish at home as I want her to speak second language. Is it a wrong choice? Is she going to do worse at school because of that?

Inkymess Mon 11-Jan-16 12:38:22

Carry on as you are. 1/2 my DD class have English as second language. They may have less complex language early on but they very soon catch up. Two languages is a great skill. We have friend DCs who go to polish / Chinese / French / Spanish school etc at weekends as English soon takes over !!!

noramum Mon 11-Jan-16 12:45:51

DD is bi-lingual but English is the stronger language. Still, she misses some vocabulary as some words she never hears in English.

I don't see a huge problem but you may want to see the quality of what you offer in English. I found the more classical books and audiotapes provide a better vocabulary than lots of books like Rainbow Fairies, all things Disney or similar. Usborne does very good books with classical stories, shorten to read to her. Books with rhymes are also good for her to improve.

Don't get caught in a "please only speak English to her" with nursery, school or health professionals. Carry on like you do and reap the benefits later.

CeciCC Mon 11-Jan-16 13:08:48

Hi, no she won't be doing worse in School because of that, probably the opposite. What you are doing it is the correct thing. In my opinion it is an advantage to be bilingual.

Ellle Mon 11-Jan-16 13:11:32

Same advise as the others. Carry on speaking Polish.

She might need a bit of help at first with some of the vocabulary. Play it by ear. When DS1 started reception Spanish was his strongest language. Just the same as your DD, he had more vocabulary and was able to express himself using more complex sentences in the minority language.

Occasionally when I noticed he was struggling a bit in an area because of English being his second language (e.g. they asked him to say how many toys were in front of him and he said the wrong number in English to the teacher, but the right one to me in Spanish), then I worked on reinforcing that vocabulary (we played games to practise saying the numbers both in Spanish and English so he knew the equivalent word for each one). And then once I saw he was confident, I stopped using English in those games, and continued doing other things in our language.

With reading, DH (who is an English native speaker) read with DS in English exclusively, and I read with him in Spanish exclusively.

By the end of the year DS's English was really good, and his report said he was above average and exceeding in most areas. So the fact that English was not his strongest language when he started reception did not held him back.

ohdearlord Mon 11-Jan-16 13:15:38

It evens out with time, even if they have a weaker language to begin with or go through a phase of blending their languages. DD is trilingual and once she hit about 7 the three just seemed to click as separate languages, and she made progress in each individually. Her language development was less smooth than monolingual children, but it has evened out now. So long as school are aware that your DD is bilingual there shouldn't be any untoward concern.

They will likely develop different vocabularies in each language dependent on what they use them for - DD would struggle to describe her maths in French for example, but has no problem in English or Swedish. Likewise she would probably prefer to describe her memories of certain museums in French, but would fudge some words in Swedish or English if she did it in either of those. You can work on evening out those particular vocab weaknesses yourself by including conversations about them in whichever language is needed.

MashaMisha Mon 11-Jan-16 16:22:48

I wouldn't worry, my DD was the same when she started school in her "second" language. We never spoke that language at home, and didn't really read any books or watch tv in it either, so really her only proper exposure was through nursery.

She definitely had a smaller vocabulary than the monolingual native speaking children when she started school, but a year later she had basically caught up, and was excelling at reading and writing. I think by that point, having two languages was already more of a benefit rather than holding her back in any way.

WidowWadman Mon 11-Jan-16 16:28:56

Don't worry. My daughters are both bilingual, albeit with English being the dominant language, however clear interferences from the other language at times. The teachers know about the bilingualism and are fully supportive. In all likelihood your child's teachers will be the same.

HeadDreamer Mon 11-Jan-16 16:30:17

I wouldn't worry at all. Speaking polish at home is definitely the right choice. As long as you spend the time with her on her phonics homework, read the books given by school with her, she'll catch up. You'll find amongst second generation immigrants, the children usually have english as their first language. This will be inevitable because they'll have an education based on English. Sooner or later, you'll find your child speak a larger vocabulary in English.

I migrated when I was a teen, so I'm in a worse situation! (Not natively fluent in any language).

Ferguson Mon 11-Jan-16 20:05:48

When I was a TA we had a Polish boy, who by Year 2 was speaking and writing just as well, if not better than some of the English children. We used a Polish/English computer dictionary with him, and because staff concentrated on him he made good progress.

Amzyk1982 Mon 11-Jan-16 20:06:56

Thank you very much for all your reassuring stories and advice!

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