A multilingual person is a person who speaks two or more languages with ease. If a child can speak English, Hindi and Bengali, for instance, they are multilingual.
Language should be one of the focuses of the ECCE (early childhood care and education) programme. Language is a multifaceted issue. It addresses the problems of children, who speak different dialects in multiple languages, through interaction in pre-school (ECCE) centres.
We know that many children who attend pre-school or EECE centers in their area, are assigned a different language when they enter primary school. This poses a challenge because their mother tongue is different. If they have to suddenly listen to another language and understand it, then it gets difficult.
Children should be taught languages in their early childhood because their brains experience a growth spurt in their development between the ages of two to seven. In this critical period, the child tends to learn things faster.
Multilingualism should be used as a resource. Children should be given the opportunity to speak in regional languages. When they are provided with a god environment, such as a family where they are not restricted, the child will learn more efficiently. They won’t be afraid.
Each child should be made to feel accepted and safe, because each one of them comes from a different place. The language everyone speaks is different. All children should be given the opportunity to speak in their mother tongue so that they can speak freely.
This can result in cognitive expansion, critical thinking and intellectual achievements.
Culture is exchanged when, for instance, a child from the Hindi belt interacts with another child who speaks Kannada. They both talk to each other about the festivals celebrated in their respective cultures. They may learn to speak each others’ languages and a cultural exchange takes place.
Some possible solutions: