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How can my daughter prepare for a kindergarten where they are immediately immersed in a foreign language?

We'll be starting our 4yr-old in a French immersion academy next fall, as a Kindergartener. She is a very verbal child and has already begun sight-reading some English words. Does anyone have suggestions as to ways to help her prepare for Kindergarten where they are immediately immersed in a foreign language?
Thanks!
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness, Learning a second language
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Jul 27, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hello!  I think it is great that your daughter will be involved in a language immersion program at a young age. Bravo to you!  Try taking your daughter to the library and looking for books that use French or are written in English and French.  The Madeline series of books uses French terms.  There are also very good French children picture dictionaries.  Watching preschool movies with French being spoken that are easy to follow may be helpful.  If you can use a few words with her, such as simple phrases, commands, verbs or the colors that would be a great start.  It may only take her to know 10-20 words to feel secure her first week or two.

Most of all, let her enjoy the experience and learn French slowly but assuredly. Kindergarten is a transition time for all children, even those who are not in a bilingual program.  Expect a few "bumps in the road" mostly due to fatigue.  

In time, all will seem very normal as she progresses with her educational program.
Good luck!


Louise Masin Sattler
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families
http://www.SigningFamilies.com

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Additional Answers (3)

KidAngel
KidAngel writes:
Hi Mom,
The Children€™s Literacy Charity that I am the Founder has direct experience working with children that start off their schooling being immersed in a Foreign Language. Here is the best advice I can give you in a nutshell. Work with your 4 year old on learning to read and spell in English. Your child will receive NO ENGLISH until usually 3rd grade, depending on the schools immersion policies. I say this as we have worked with MANY students that are in a Language Immersion school to teach them English! Your child will be just fine with her French. It will be reading and spelling in English that may be the challenge. I have talked to many a shocked parent because they had no idea that Phonetic awareness to teach the English language was not being taught till 3rd grade. When you immerse your child in a school that is designated an "immersion school" that is exactly what they do. I would contact the school and find out what their policies are for teaching "English" and then you will know how much work you will need to do independently with your child. Not all children thrive in Language Immersion Schools. Your child seems very bright for a 4 year old so it may work out wonderfully for her. Knowledge is power! I hope I've given you the knowledge you need to move forward and have a successful experience with the French immersion.

Barbara Antinoro
Educational Counselor
Kid Angel Foundation
Education.com Team
> 60 days ago

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Tamsin
Tamsin writes:
My son started French Immersion Kindergarten last fall. I can speak, read and understand French but I have never communicated to my boys in French beyond blurting out "Vite, vite" as we hurry across the road. It sounds like developmentally your daughter is similar to where my son was at that age. To prepare for kindergarten in general, I followed tips from the school (like reading stories about kindergarten, teaching him to tie shoes, drawing pictures about what he expected from his frist day etc). With regards to French, all I taught him was Bonjour and Au revoir, Merci, Oui and Non.
His first day was awesome. The teacher spoke entirely in French, and through hand gestures all 22 kids were able to follow her instructions perfectly. She asked them in French to come and get a worksheet, take a crayon and pencil, go to the desk with their name on it, write their name on the sheet and colour in the balloons. They all did it no problem. They are amazing at this age!
Going forward, I agree with the previous post that as a parent you need to read English with your child since they will get no English reading for several years. What I have found this first year is that what my son has learned in French reading seems to carry over and his English reading is right on track. I am not doing any instruction with him; just reading with him a whole lot. I read in English and in French, and he follows along in both languages quite easily.
I am very pleased with our French Immersion experience! Good luck, have fun!
Tamsin (no credentials, but mom to two!)
> 60 days ago

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SensibleMom
SensibleMom writes:
Although this is a bit of a pricey suggestion, we have The Rosetta Stone & it really is extremely easy to learn & very simple to use. Your 4 year old would have no problem going through the basic exercises & will begin building a good size base vocabulary w/in a week or 2. I'm wondering if you can find it at your local library? I've never thought about that option but it would be worth looking into. :)
> 60 days ago

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