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Immersive Language Learning

At our Froebel Early Learning Centres, we strongly focus on child-specific and age-appropriate immersive language learning by introducing a second community language.

The second community language at our centres in AlexandriaFitzroy NorthParkville and St Leonards is German, and our centre in Carlton offers immersive language learning with Spanish.

Language has a critical period for learning. Studies show that babies and children are geniuses at acquiring a second language until they turn 7, and then there is a systematic decline. Froebel ensures that your child gets a head-start in their linguistic abilities, language awareness and multicultural awareness.

The successful acquisition of a language is more than just the learning of words, grammar and pronunciation. Language means knowing and understanding. Language enables us to communicate and to become part of a community. Early language learning is ideally embedded in a holistic concept of speech and language development. Children learn a language most successfully when it is part of everyday situations and when it can be acquired in the same way as their first language.

The educators proficient in the second community language consistently work and speak with the children in this language whilst their English-speaking colleagues do the same in their language (‘One person – One language’). Being immersed all day every day the second language is an integral, natural part of the children’s life at Froebel. They become familiar with the language melody and learn it in a very playful way, following the same principles as the learning of their first language. The older children use the experience they recently gained in mastering their primary language, and therefore abilities they already possess and develop.

All experiences and activities at our Early Learning Centres are conducted either in English or our second language. The language immersion is supported through children’s songs, scientific exploration, games, use of media, as well as specific design of some of the display in both languages. Our educators support communication with children through mimics, gestures and repetition/daily routines.

Froebel aims to have a high quota of educators proficient in the second community language across the service and ideally all our age groups, however, we are not able to guarantee a certain percentage of such educators in each room. Our team is actively involved with language community groups and organisations and has established strong relationships and connections. In 2020, Froebel successfully launched its scholarship for educators from German-speaking countries, followed by the new scholarship for Spanish-speaking educators. Educators joining Froebel from overseas need to go through a comprehensive process of having their qualifications approved according to Australian regulations and requirements, their English language proficiency assessed and their visa granted. 

TED talk with Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies

A fascinating TED talk with Patricia Kuhl, renowned codirector of the Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington: The linguistic genius of babies can be viewed here.