Multiple Languages and Learning

March 8, 2022

Tiny Hoppers Richmond East is located in the beautiful coastal city of Richmond, which is known as one of the most diverse cities in Canada. “With over 60% of residents being born outside of B.C” (City of Richmond, 2022), “54% of residents use a language other than English most often at home” (VCH, 2022). It is no wonder that one of the most common questions we get as educators is, “will my child fall behind in learning if their first language is not English?”.

The short answer is no. Not at all. While it is a common and justified concern, children with multiple languages are still learning to speak at the same rate as a child with one language. In most instances we see children who are “simultaneous bilingual”. A simultaneous bilingual child is defined as a child who learns two languages from birth or learns the second language before they turn three years old. Simultaneous bilingual children may have a smaller pool of vocabulary for each language, however, collectively their vocabulary pool is the same as a child raised with one language.

In our child care programs, our utmost priority is celebrating the heritage of a child and their families. When we honour the cultures that are brought into our programs, we are fostering a connection between family and child. For children who speak or understand multiple languages, rest assured that the ability to do so does not hinder their learning and instead provides a great base for learning English or another language.

Your partner in learning,
Fiona Abbas-Lee

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