Trevor and his family live in Regina, Saskatchewan. His wife, Celeste, and Taylor are dual citizens (American and Canadian) since they were living in the US when the kids were born. Celeste is 6 and in grade 1; Taylor is 5 and in kindergarten. Trevor and his wife speak some French, but they want the kids to be bilingual and thus have enrolled them in an immersion school (what a great resource--I'm jealous!). But there's a chance that the family may be moving here to northern Colorado--maybe Griffin and I can meet this family and speak French with them one day! Thanks for answering these questions, Trevor--keep us posted on the kids' (and your) progress! (For example, are you going to wait for your youngest child to start school to expose him to French?)
Why do you want your child to learn a second language? I believe a second language will benefit my children in a number of ways. The first is Canada has two official languages and I think it is important for my children to be functional in both English and French. Second, it will open another door for my children’s success later in life. Third, I believe the cognitive skills you acquire with another language benefit problem solving and thought process in general.
How well do your children understand, speak, read, and write the second language? Our children speak English at home and are speaking French at school (French Immersion program).
How have you been able to expose your child to the culture(s) where the second language is spoken? We have taken a trip to Quebec and they receive some culture training at school. [Sarah's note--I'd be curious to hear more about that! What did the kids think about hearing people speak French all around them in Quebec? What cultural differences struck them most while they were there? And when they cover "culture" in school, is it Quebecois culture specifically, or France and the francophonie as well? As you might imagine, in US French classes the focus tends to be on mainland France first and then eventually the rest of the francophone world.]
What challenges have occurred as you teach your child a second language? For us, my wife and I can read French at a primary level, and the hardest part is pronouncing our words properly. Our daughter, is in grade 1 (First grade is what Americans say) so she corrects us in our pronunciation.
What resources have been most useful to you? The children’s school.
What do you think parents, caretakers, teachers, and/or researchers need to know about teaching a second language to children? What do you wish you had known when you started? What, if anything, would you do differently now? N/A
Answer your own question now--what did I not ask about that you want to comment on? The French Immersion program for children at school is an excellent way for them to pick up a second language. Our kids speak French in the classroom and speak English at home.