1 – Why should my child have a bilingual education? What advantages can it bring?
We live in a globalized world. The ability to communicate effectively in more than one language is critical in this context. In particular, the English language has become an international communication standard. Not speaking English today is no longer acceptable professionally. The difference is in speaking good English or speaking like a native (or very close to it). The bilingual education makes the process of acquisition of the second language more natural and the results are significantly superior. In addition, there is strong evidence that the bilingual environment stimulates more the brain of children, resulting in a faster and full intellectual development. In bilingual education, the child deals with the differences in languages and cultures from an early age. Being exposed to situations of everyday life in English is almost like to be living in an English-speaking country.
2 – What is the best age for my child to learn a second language?
The sooner children learn English (or other language), the better. According to the scholar Charles Hockett (cited by Chomsky, Noam – “Language and thought” Petrópolis, Vozes, 1971, 2nd Edition) explains, “By age 4-6 years old, the normal child is a linguistic adult. He/ she dominates, with minor exceptions – if any – the phonological system of the language; effortlessly handles the essentials of grammar; knows and employs the basic vocabulary of the language. “Other studies and surveys also show that the phonetic unit of the child is being formed at approximately 7 years of age. In this age group, it has a greater ability to assimilate the information.
3 – How does the process of acquiring a new language occur?
It consists basically of three stages (taking the example of a child who has Portuguese as mother tongue and is learning English as a second language):
Understanding: the child understands what is said in English and answers in Portuguese, showing he/ she understood, but does not have the vocabulary or is not safe to answer in English;
Verbal expression stage: at which the child mixes the two languages in the sentences. What happens is that a few words in a language sink in more than others, so he/ she relies on the ones he/ she already knows and that are safer;
Structure: at this stage he/ she is already able to formulate sentences without mixing English with Portuguese. Here, the child already knows that he/ she is able to communicate in both languages and when to use each.
4 – May my child be confused about the two languages?
This is a concern that should not exist. The child begins to learn the language naturally with the routine of everyday life at school. When still a baby, he/ she does not have the vocabulary formed, he/ she gradually begins to understand the things you hear, incorporating and repeating the words. Often puts words that he himself invents. After that, the child filters words and begins to make complete sentences to communicate. With the languages, this also happens. The child can discern from one another and separates perfectly, becoming bilingual.
5 – How is the bilingual education program at BIS?
BIS has developed a comprehensive bilingual program in both Portuguese and English. During childhood education, the child participates in educational activities whose language of communication is English. The teacher communicates only in that language, making the acquisition of the new language become naturally. From the Elementary School, already literate in English and Portuguese, the students have a curriculum in both languages. The program meets the requirements of the Brazilian Curriculum Parameters (MEC) and bases its bilingual curriculum in the international curriculum, coherent to the socio-constructivist approach of teaching. BIS prepares the students to be able to choose to continue their university studies in Brazil or abroad.
6 – If the purpose of BIS is to turn the child bilingual, what happens to the Portuguese skills?
This is our differential. The goal of the program is to make children equally competent in both languages, and not harm the Brazilian program in favor of the international program.
7 – At what age can a child start studying at BIS?
We accept children from one year of age.
8 – Currently, what classes does the school have?
BIS has classes up to Year 9 (ninth grade). We teach classes from Early Childhood Education up to Middle School.
9 – Must one already know English to start studying at BIS?
During Early Childhood Education, requirements are lower. Our experience is that new students adapt to the new environment in no time. From the Elementary school on, the applicant must go through a survey process.
10 – How can we parents help the child to learn a second language?
There are several suggestions on articles published on the bilingualism section of the website. Check it out.
11 – Do I need to speak English to my son?
If your first language is Portuguese, we suggest you speak that language, because the opportunities of speaking are greater. This does not mean that parents should not create situations so that the child has more contact with the English language. We cannot forget that the child is in a full development phase and should acquire as much information as possible.
BIS is not a language school, but a school that is committed to promoting the full development of the child.