What is Discover English with Ben & Bella?
Discover English with Ben & Bella is the name of a series of multimedia learning products for young children created by the German-based company Early Learning Group. The products include storybooks, DVDs, sticker books, exercise books and interactive games, through which children are immersed in the English-language world of the loveable cartoon characters Ben and Bella.
How do children learn English with Ben & Bella products?
All Discover English with Ben & Bella products, including the Teaching Resource, are based on the immersion principle. The idea is to teach young children English much as they learn their mother tongue: by hearing it, mimicking it and actively experiencing it in a living environment. With Ben & Bella, learning is varied, lively, fun—and natural. Children learn English not by rote, as is so often the case in school, but almost by osmosis.
Who helped to develop the Ben & Bella learning series?
Experts at the German Institute for Immersive Learning (GIFL) in Hamburg, as well as the Anglicist and linguist Professor Henning Wode of the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, a pioneer in the study of immersive learning.
Why should children learn a foreign language at a young age?
The younger the child, the easier and more natural it is for him/her to learn a second language. Children’s good ear allows them both to mimic pronunciation accurately and to acquire correct grammar swiftly and intuitively.
How old should children be to learn English with the Teaching Resource?
Children aged 2 to 7 are the ideal target group for the Teaching Resource.
Shouldn’t young children first master their own tongue, before they start to learn a second one?
No. A small child who grows up in a bilingual environment will understand and speak both languages—and without confusing the two. The learning of the mother tongue will not be adversely affected by exposure to a second one. On the contrary, exposure to a second language actually strengthens a child’s awareness of how languages are structured. This will show itself later in school, especially in the child’s far better understanding of the grammar of different languages.
Isn’t it overtaxing a small child to expect him/her to learn a second language?
Not at all. Young children are geniuses when it comes to learning languages, capable of picking up any number of languages and dialects, no matter how odd they might sound to the adult ear. In addition, the Teaching Resource curriculum was developed especially to appeal to children’s natural curiosity and liveliness, using songs, stories, games and a variety of hands-on tasks.
Won’t the children be bored later in school?
No. The Discover English with Ben & Bella Teaching Resource prepares children for the successful study of English in primary and secondary school—and with success come interest and enthusiasm. Since they already have experience in understanding and speaking the language, they can concentrate more on grammar and on acquiring new vocabulary.
Does the early exposure to a foreign language improve a child’s cognitive ability?
Yes. Another language is a fascinating challenge, and one that young children are usually eager to meet. Studies show that an early exposure to a foreign language also improves nonverbal cognitive abilities, including in mathematics.
Are there also social advantages to being exposed early to another tongue?
Yes. The visit of an individual or an entire kinder-garten group from a neighboring country awakens the curiosity of the host, whose interest is to understand his or her guests. To children who have been exposed early to a foreign language, it is completely normal to meet others who speak a different mother tongue.
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