Home and heart language are powerful and important

Bilingual families can pass on the best of both worlds to their children: a home language in addition to the community language. Talking mainly in the parent's strongest language is the best way to build children's own rich language skills. While it is true that family members can help one another by practicing English together, parents can be reassured that their children will have a better chance at academic success when a home language is maintained. Our own language resides deep within us, as language is more than words. When parents interact with children, they are setting up learning, and it does not matter what language that learning is in.

Stories and languages are tied up with personal experience. So to connect with our young children, we need to use words that have a depth of meaning for us. Share something personal about your own childhood, it helps to use a language that taps into your own emotions, and this has more meaning. Don't be afraid to expose children to several languages, young brains are designed for language learning.

‚ÄčThe power of home and heart languages

Watch Dr Rae Si'ilataDr Rae Si'ilata, biliteracy lecturer and associate Dean Pasifika at the University of Auckland speak at the Talking Matters NZ summit about the power and importance of home and heart  languages

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