Learning a language sounds like a daunting task, but it can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 for early learners.
A study commissioned by the University of Tasmania in conjunction with the Australian National University has released its findings from a pilot second language program.
The program was run in Northern Tasmania and exposed about 35 children at a childcare centre with a Vietnamese teacher, to see if they could pick up the language.
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Lead researcher Vinh To said the study was a first for Tasmania and it was the first time for Australia that Vietnamese was the language and culture involved.
She said exposure to a second language at an early education level was crucial for expanding young minds to other cultures.
“In Tasmania, 80 per cent of the people who live here only speak one language, so we wanted to see if we could increase the exposure of the culture at an early age,” she said.
The Vietnamese teacher went to the child care centre and spoke to the children in Vietnamese; they were also provided with learning materials such as bi-lingual books, to be sent home to parents.
Launceston parent Melody West, whose son Ellis Hookway was involved in the study, said the best thing about it was how it turned into a shared learning experience for the whole family.
“We weren’t sure how much he [Ellis] would pick up, but we were so surprised at what he learned each week,” Ms West said.
“It has broadened his horizons and his cultural awareness.”
Ms West said the family was delighted to be part of the study and showed that the early years were ideal for learning a language.
Language studies are only offered to students from Grade 7.