Being Bilingual

A welcome for bilingual families at Arbury Primary School. 

Teachers and other staff at Arbury Primary warmly welcome children who speak more than one language and we are excited to see how this enriches our school community. Our teachers have studied the effects of bilingualism (or multilingualism) on children and recognise many cognitive and social benefits that come from speaking another language.

We have connections with the Cambridge Bilingualism Network and offer occasional open meetings for parents in bilingual families to share the Network's research with you. If you have a concern about your child's language development we encourage you to talk to your child's class teacher to get support and encouragement and answers to any questions you may have.

We strongly encourage you to continue speaking your home language with your children, the language you feel most 'yourself' in - this will give them a connection to your culture/s and wider families, an open door into another world spoken by all those who speak your home language, and give them a cognitive head start in many areas of development. It also means they hear the adults around them speaking a language very well and that means they will learn better. They will hear many native English speakers in their daily life at school and will pick up good English from them.

Sometimes children can complain about speaking a different language than their peers. Hopefully, the positive encouragement we give to bilingual children at school will help them feel confident and proud, but even if they answer in English you can talk to them in the 'home' language and they will continue to develop linguistically in both languages.

Books that may give you motivation, ideas and background information

Virginie Raguenaud's Bilingual By Choice

The University of Cambridge's Faculty of Education provides this link to local clubs and community groups providing native-level language teaching for children with an additional language. Many languages are covered so do take a look at this extensive list. 

Below is some information put together by Cambridge Bilingualism Network.  There are 5 excellent observations/ ideas about raising your child bilingually:
  1. Babies' brains are amazing! They can learn any language that they hear around them - even more  than 1 language at a time. 
  2.  More than half of the world's people speak more than 1 language and there's no right way to do it.  All families are different, so decide together what your multilingual family will be like. 
  3. How much your baby hears makes a difference; the more you talk in your languages, the more your baby will learn your languages- the whole family can get involved!
  4. When you share your languages, you share your feelings, and your stories. Be proud of your languages and share them like a gift!
  5. Talk to your baby in the languages you are most comfortable with. If your child learns one     language  well from you, it will be easier for them to learn English well too.