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Principal Backs Call to Improve Language Skills

Media Release, 17 June 2003 For immediate release

Christchurch Principal Backs Call to Improve Language Skills

“The earlier the better”, says one Christchurch primary school principal.

Selwyn House School head, Jane Lapthorn believes introducing a second language at intermediate or secondary level is too late and children at pre-school should be encouraged to learn another language.

Mrs Lapthorn says the latest brain research shows the earlier the children learn a language, the better.

“But we’ve always known that, so the recommendation to introduce another language at intermediate or secondary level is curious”, she says.

Selwyn House has taught Spanish at the Selwyn House pre-school for the last two years, and French and Spanish in the primary school for many years. Jane Lapthorn says it’s an extension of our teaching philosophy, which encourages the children to be “life long learners”. Learning another language also uses all levels of thinking, which include, repeating, recognising, recalling as well as applying, creating and predicting.

Mrs Lapthorn says learning other languages allows the students to benefit from the personal enrichment of global abilities associated with learning the world’s languages however she sounds a word of warning.

“Adding another language may put additional pressure on an already crowded curriculum. What are schools going to leave out of the curriculum? We work very hard to find good, native Spanish and French speakers because in their early malleable years, children need to hear the right emphasis, and correct pronunciation.”

Jane Lapthorn says the success of the language curriculum at Selwyn House speaks for itself.

“Parents are thrilled by the curiosity, enthusiasm and growth of their children, both at pre-school and primary school age,” she says. “Learning another language helps our students develop positive attitudes towards cultural diversity.”

Selwyn House School is located at 122 Merivale Lane, off Papanui Road just up and across the road from the Cotswold Inn in Christchurch.

Photo Opportunity: Spanish being taught in the Pre-school (ages 3 and 4) and French in the Primary School (Year 1-8) - colourful musical instruments, singing and excited language learning! Please let me know when you would like to visit.

For more information, please contact: Ali Jones
Ali Jones Public Relations
Mobile: 027 247 3112

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