At least 90 daycare centres for pre-school children in the Netherlands are teaching toddlers English, the AD said on Thursday.
Creches are getting more requests for language teaching, not just at daycare centres with large number of expats, the paper said. The trend is particularly apparent in creches which share premises with a primary school.
‘Parents are more internationally orientated and the increase in the number of bilingual primary schools is generating more demand for English at creches,’ Karel Philipsen, director of Early Bird, which produces English lessons for daycare, told the AD.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam are following the trend and say young children are quicker to pick up a new language, but that there is a wide range of opinion about when to begin.
They are currently studying the results at 17 daycare centres – 16 teaching English and one French – in a four year project on behalf of the social affairs ministry.
‘At the end of the project we hope to be able to say how much time creches should devote to a second language and on which children is the impact most obvious,’ research leader Folkert Kuiken told the AD.
Radboud university linguistics researcher Sharon Unsworth told the paper that parents should not expect their children to speak fluent English after the creche lessons. ‘Children are sponges and easily learn a foreign language, but they need to hear it enough to do so,’ she said.
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