Today’s children are growing up in a multilingual world and the ability to communicate effectively in social, academic and commercial settings is crucial if they are to play their full part as global citizens.
The Scottish Government’s policy, Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach, is aimed at ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn a modern language from P1 onwards. Additionally, each child should have the right to learn a second modern language from P5 onwards. The policy should be fully implemented across the country by 2020.
The Curriculum for Excellence document Modern Languages: Principles and Practice offers the following guidance on early level language learning:
At early and at first levels, children will be developing generic skills in their first language. These include taking part in conversations, developing listening, reading and writing skills and knowledge about language. All of these are relevant to learning other languages.
Within modern languages at these stages, teachers will build on children’s natural curiosity for sounds and words, and their strong desire to communicate. Activities should include playing games, singing songs, carrying out simple instructions, and playing with simple poetry and rhyme. In this way they can begin to be enthusiastic, confident language learners from the outset.
Language learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach – Further guidance on L3 within the 1+2 policy. This document provides guidance on the second additional language (L3), a key element of the 1+2 approach to language learning, which should be introduced by P5 by the latest.
Learning a further language will give additional opportunities to build on children’s literacy skills so that they develop a greater understanding of how language works.