Second language development at our Melkbosstrand Branch

We’ve been thinking a lot about music and language development in our recent blogs.  That’s because in our classes, it’s one of the areas where we see obvious growth from week to week.

We know that the ability to understand and produce language and music, is unique to human beings.  An increasing number of studies are looking at the possible benefits of music-based training on non-musical learning areas – such as language, executive function, creativity, early numeracy and literacy.  (Gibson, Folley, & Park, 2009; Hoch & Tillman, 2012; Moreno et al., 2009, 2011).

This growing research is both fascinating and satisfying for us at Wriggle and Rhyme, because it validates what we witness from our little budding musicians in our classes.

But, how does a music-based program impact second language children?

Our Melkbos branch opened at the beginning of this year and is growing from strength to strength.  Melkbosstrand is largely an Afrikaans speaking community … and so one of our areas of interest, was to see how babies and toddlers from Afrikaans speaking homes, respond to our program.

Marcelle Grobbelaar is our branch teacher in Melkbosstrand.   She shared some wonderful anecdotes with us this week.

She told us of the experience of mommy Juanita, and her little 14 month old, Eben.  They’ve only been attending W&R for a few weeks and speak Afrikaans exclusively at home.

Juanita says that, in her experience, our music-based program is such a wonderful way of introducing a new language to Eben.  The songs and storylines that we use in our unique program have helped Eben make associations in English, and begin to build understanding and vocabulary.  Juanita also loves the fact that, because they’re still speaking Afrikaans at home, but are associating English with W&R, there’s less confusion.

For example, in class now, when Eben meets Mr Duck, he immediately starts making a beak with his hands; or when Froggie comes to visit, Eben sticks out his tongue.  He’s making associations, which he’s learnt, but in his second language!  Just astonishing!

Above  – Eben meeting MR DUCK in class
Right  – “Where, oh where, oh where is froggie?”

Marcelle’s own little boy, Alexander (16 months old) also attends the classes.  He hasn’t yet started counting in his mother tongue, Afrikaans, but recently counted in English during the class.  Marcelle couldn’t believe it … it just validated for her the impact that intentional music-based activities have on growing brains!

A lot more research is being done on the effects of music on second language development.  Our experience, both with Afrikaans children at Melkbosstrand, and Xhosa, Shona and Sotho speakers in our schools program, suggests that the research will back up our experience:

Music-based activities can have a positive and lasting effect on second language development!

To join a class in MELKBOSSTRAND contact or click here

We also have classes in CLAREMONT, RONDEBOSCH, MEADOWRIDGE, CONSTANTIA and FISH HOEK.  Loads more info under the “OUR CLASSES” menu …