Daily language learning at home – Is it possible?
100 families took part in our Moomin Language School Home Pilot last spring – which we have written about earlier. This time we talked with Eeva Paavilainen whose pre-school aged son learned English with Moomin Language School.
Positive results after 4 months
According to Eeva, the first four months of the pilot have been meaningful for her son’s English learning. Her son (6 years) reacts to English and recognizes English words when he hears them. Eeva also says that her son is interested in the English pronunciation in a different way than before. Eeva finds the application to be well suited for home use, although she thinks it’s important for the parent to be involved in using the application.
Eeva wanted to take part in the home pilot, because she thought that her pre-school aged son was in the right age for learning English, and a digital solution felt like a good way for learning English. “Using a digital solution especially for learning English felt right, because children encounter English in their everyday lives anyway,” she says.
Language learning becomes a fun routine
Eeva’s son has been motivated to use the application. He has not spontaneously used the application, but has always been excited about it when his mother has suggested it. Eeva thinks that learning a foreign language should not be a separate entity; rather, it should be a natural part of the child’s language development. Indeed, Eeva thinks that what might be challenging is making language learning an exciting daily routine.
That is why Moomin Language School’s team wants to bring up this point: in both the kindergarten and home, the adult – whether a teacher or a parent – has a very important role in motivating children to learn. Enthusiasm is contagious. Language learning can be the highlight of the day, if it’s not presented as entertainment, but as a fun daily activity that is rewarding. Fortunately, the suggested daily play time, 5-15 minutes per day, is short enough so that it’s easy to make fun and it won’t burden children too much.
Digital solutions are great for language learning
Eeva’s feelings regarding the application are positive. “The basic idea of the solution is great: a systematically advancing language school with words and themes that are close to children’s daily life,” she says. She thinks that the application has been easy to use for her son and it’s been easy to get started. She has also seen the technology as a positive thing. “Digital solutions are a great help for children in language learning, since an audiovisual and interactive learning environment makes learning effective,” she explains.
Eeva’s son’s second mother tongue is Spanish, so she has encouraged him to approach English by using words and the structure of the language that he already knows. It has been very rewarding for her son when he has already “known” a lot of words (For example, flor – flower). “When it comes to the structural features, he has noticed that in English there is often an article before a word, exactly like in Spanish (such as la luna – the moon). Learning totally new words has been very good for training his memory and has made him pay more attention to the sounds when pronunciation has been practiced together with an adult.”
Eeva recommends Moomin Language School to all parents. She also encourages parents to enrich their children’s language development in other ways, for example by singing songs and reading books in a foreign language. “Parents can show by example that it’s more important to have an open mind and a positive attitude towards foreign languages than knowing the language perfectly,” she says. Moomin Language School’s team couldn’t agree more!
Read more about parent’s experiences here.