Music rhymes in other languages

Music and language - a strong team for (second) language acquisition

What happens when the little ones learn not just one but several languages ​​because a different language is spoken at home than in the day care center or daycare center? Monja Krafft has dealt with this in detail. The specialist in early childhood education at the Europahaus in Aurich knows from her professional experience: “The earlier a child comes into contact with different languages, the better and faster they can learn.” At home, she advises, the “language of the heart” should be spoken , i.e. those in which the parents feel comfortable and secure, in which they can express themselves spontaneously and emotionally - they are good language role models.

Listen to the song "Brother Jacob"

Children who then hear a different language in the daycare center automatically adapt to it. During the first six months of life they developed a filter for their utterances that ensured that sounds that did not match the language of their surroundings were sorted out.

This “sound filter” is now expanded again when the child is confronted with the new language. This is not a problem with small children, because their speech window is still very wide open. Growing up bilingual is therefore not difficult for young children and also promotes their intelligence.
However, clear rules are necessary: ​​with whom does your child speak which language? So which language with the father and which with the mother, or which language at home and which in daycare?

Speaking at home and in the crèche

If the parents speak different languages ​​- for example the mother Turkish and the father German - the child can easily pick up both languages. In this case, Monja Krafft talks about learning two first languages ​​because the toddlers practice the languages ​​at the same time. If another language is not added until around three years of age (for example in daycare, as is often the case), this is the second language, because the basic structures of the first have already been internalized.

Listen to the song "My hat, it has three corners"

Kindergarten teachers have a great influence on the language development of children: They can integrate language - including a second language - into everyday life, recognize the child’s already existing language possibilities and expand them through addressing them. In any case, it is crucial to pay attention to the children's interests (what arouses their curiosity? What do they play with?), Because they are the engine of language development. And not only verbal, but also non-verbal signals should be answered, for example when the child points to something that they cannot yet name.

It's easier with music

Music can significantly support this learning process: With the help of rhymes and songs, toddlers discover the meanings of individual words, they develop a feeling for the language, train their perception and their memory. The Göttingen neurobiologist Gerald Hüther is convinced: “Music is strength training for children's brains” and in an interview describes singing as “one of the most wonderful body learning exercises. Because the child's brain has to modulate the vocal cords so virtuously that the right tone comes out precisely. "

Listen to the song "Spannenlanger Hansel"

There are daycare centers that set up language and song tents. There, children hear what their parents sang and recorded for them - in different languages. Other daycare centers offer parents the opportunity to take part in the morning singing with songs in their own language.
Children learn to speak more easily with music - even in several languages. And one more thing: in singing they experience that there is a multitude of languages ​​and cultures - an important experience for the culture of living together in our society.

The integrative early childhood educator and educator Monja Krafft has extensive experience in early childhood education, works as a consultant in this area and works in the “Early Pedagogy in Europe” department in the Europahaus in Aurich.

Song contributions courtesy of Liederprojekt.org, a charity project by Carus-Verlag and SWR2