It is always refreshing to sit down on a mat with a group of enthusiastic pre-school children, their eyes wide, their minds open, ready to learn, ready to soak up new words and information, like little sponges.
I have been teaching languages to children, young and older people for about 25 years now. Teaching languages to pre-school children remains my favourite age group, simply because they are “little language learning machines”, eager to pick up new ways to communicate in new worlds that they are creating every day.
About two weeks ago, in Auckland, New Zealand, I had the great pleasure of conducting a language lesson for pre-schooler children and found myself sitting in front of about thirty pre-school children with some of my Mandarin-speaking colleagues. We were there to introduce a few French, Spanish, German and Chinese Mandarin songs and games to the kids. We began by gauging our audience and asked how many already spoke another language at home. The hands shot up and we were delighted by responses from a few bilingual Russian, Hindi, Arabic, Afrikaans, Korean and other Asian language-speaking children, keen to share greetings and expressions with us in their own native tongues.