When should children begin to learn English?
The younger the child begins, the easier it is to assimilate a foreign language, as long as she is regularly exposed to it. Studies show that the earlier a baby start listening to a foreign language, the better her pronunciation and grammar will be as she grows up. At Helen Doron English, we begin with Baby’s Best Start, a course for infants from 3 months old and their parents. Although these very young infants may not fully understand what is being said to them, they are absorbing the sounds and intonations of English, just as they are learning their own mother tongue.
While it was once believed that young children did not have the capacity to learn more than on language at a time, we now know that the opposite is true. Up to the age of six, a child’s mind is hardwired to learn languages. Learning more than one language from an early age expands a child’s mental capabilities, not only in terms of language acquisition, but in general learning and mastering of new skills as well.
I’ve heard that the Helen Doron Method teaches children naturally. What does this mean?
From birth, young children learn to communicate with the world around them by listening to and imitating the people they are in contact with. Daily, they have the opportunity to improve through constant repetition of new sounds, syllables, words and finally sentences. All this is accompanied by the natural enthusiasm of parents and other loving family members, which reinforces the child’s desire to continue. By age 2-3 children are communicating freely in their native language. This is the natural way to learn a language. The Helen Doron method for learning English mimics this natural process of acquiring a language: repeated hearing and positive reinforcement in a safe nurturing environment.
What is the Helen Doron English experience and why should I choose it for my child?
There are six good reasons for choosing Helen Doron English for your child.
1. Repeated hearing of English through daily exposure in the home environment along with positive reinforcement during the lessons leads children to quickly experience success. This motivates them to continue to progress, and most importantly, they LOVE it!
2. The Helen Doron teaching method takes into account children’s unique learning styles and uses games, movement, music and lots of fun to maximize kids’ natural love of learning and tendency to absorb languages.
3. Helen Doron English is the most complete English learning experience in the EFL (English as a foreign language) industry. No other EFL learning institution offers the same top-quality, age appropriate materials for the full range of ages—from 3 months to 19 years—that we do. While it is always better to begin English as early as possible and progress through the courses, young learners can join at any age and benefit greatly from the Helen Doron English method.
4. Helen Doron English courses are taught in small groups from 4-8 students. This affords the best of both worlds. On the one hand, students gain the advantage of group interaction as opposed to private tutoring. On the other hand, small groups allow for personal attention and plenty of individual use of the language by students.
5. Helen Doron teachers are unquestionably one of the most important reasons to choose a Helen Doron Learning Centre for your child. All Helen Doron teachers have passed a rigorous teacher training course where they learn the methodology in detail and are trained to use our special, proprietary teaching materials. They also attend periodic seminars so that they remain up to date on all of Helen Doron’s latest pedagogic developments. Helen Doron teachers are recognized as the best in the EFL sector.
6. The last, but by no means the least important, reason for choosing Helen Doron is the rapid progress children make in their English studies—and the beautiful accent in which they speak. This can be attributed to all of the reasons listed above and summed up as the Helen Doron English experience.
What exactly is background hearing at home and what do I need to do?
A central component of the Helen Doron method is background hearing at home, optimally twice daily for 15-25 minutes each time. This provides the ongoing exposure to English that is so important at young ages. When you sign your child up for a Helen Doron English course, along with other course materials, you receive CDs to play each week. There is no need to force your child to actively focus on listening to the music and stories. Background hearing is just that—the sounds and rhythm of the language is absorbed naturally in the background. We recommend playing the CDs during daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and traveling in the car. CDs should not be played while watching television and during mealtime conversation.
Why does repeated background hearing work?
Because young people thrive on repetition. They love to hear the same story over and over again. In the same way, they love to hear the cassettes over and over again. Parents may tire of hearing them, but kids don’t! All Helen Doron English courses are modelled after the immersion system. Students hear audiocassettes twice daily, while playing, dressing and going to sleep. Repeated background hearing is as close to the immersion system as possible when English is not spoken freely in the home.
Will my child learn English even if he does not yet speak?
Children begin learning from the moment they are born, and maybe even earlier. Before they are ready to speak, infants are absorbing the sounds and intonations they will need to form words when they are ready.
How quickly will I see results?
Often parents report that they immediately see the influence both the learning centre lessons and repeated home hearing have on their children. Obviously each child is unique and acquires languages at her own pace. Scientific research has noted that bilingual children may begin verbalizing a little later than their monolingual peers. It is also common knowledge that bilingual speakers very quickly catch up and often surpass their playmates.
Are once a week classes enough?
During the weekly teacher-child-peer interactions in class, the meanings of the words heard during the past week at home become evident. Background home hearing, coupled with group instruction, is the essence of learning English naturally through the Helen Doron English method.
Are the classes in English only?
Yes, lessons are conducted entirely in English. This style of teaching a language is called the immersion method. There are exceptions to this rule; for instance, when there is a crisis in the classroom.
Do I need to know English?
No, it is not necessary for parents to know English in order for their children to be successful learning English. It is, however, imperative that parents play the Helen Doron English CDs daily.
When should children begin learning English grammar in a systematic way?
We know from research that up to age 7 kids easily learn multiple languages that are spoken (and sung) to them. They naturally absorb the grammar they need to understand and communicate.
In English for All Children there are no grammatical exercises. Grammar is learnt by repeated hearing and oral use, just as a child acquires his mother tongue. Emphasis is placed on kids having fun and naturally learning English for use in conversation.
What Helen Doron English course should my child begin with?
There is much flexibility when choosing which Helen Doron English course is appropriate as a starter course for your child. We recommend that you discuss this with your local Helen Doron Learning Centre manager or teacher. Together, you will want to factor in your child’s previous exposure to English, other students’ English level and weekly lesson schedules.
Child starts Helen Doron English at: recommended course 3-24 months Baby’s Best Start 2 years Fun with Flupe 3 years Fun with Flupe 4 years Fun with Flupe 5 years Fun with Flupe 6 years English for All Children 7 years or grade 2 English for All Children 8 years or grade 3 English for All Children 9 years or grade 4 English for All Children 10 years or grade 5 Paul Ward’s World 11 years or grade 6 Paul Ward’s World 12 years or grade 7 Paul Ward’s World and the Treasure 13 years or grade 8 Teen English 14 years or grade 9 Teen English 15 years or grade 10 Teen English 16 years or grade 11 Teen English 17 years or grade 12 Teen English