Marc pasó un total de 7 semanas en Inglaterra entre su abuela y sus primos. Estuvo el último mes del año escolar en el colegio de sus primos.
Comento a continuación los pros y las contras que he encontrado y de enviar un niño a un colegio en el extranjero.
Marc spend a total of 7 weeks in England between his grandmother and his cousins. He attended the last month of the school year in his cousins' primary school.
I'll discuss the pros and cons that I found and of sending a child to a school abroad in the summer
Marc completed a full month in a primary school in Parkstone, Dorset. If you live in Spain you can take advantage of the UK school year that finishes around the 24th July. Therefore they can attend school from the last week of June.
The advantages of this are the incredible opportunities for the child to get massive exposure by learn subjects through English. His teachers were very pleased with his learning and commented on the fact that it must be difficult to learn in English if he normally goes to school in Catalan/ Spanish.
Although it's certainly true that learning in more tan one language presents a challenge, it depends on how well you prepare your child for learning in British school. As he already does three subjects in English at his Catalan school, this is not new. Also, we read every day in English, try and do as much writing as possible and in general he gets 3 hours interactive speaking with me every day plus much more at the weekend.
The question that comes up is "Isn't it "cruel" for them to go back to school in the summer?"
It's a question of weighing up the pros and cons. If you want your child to reach a native level of English it's nearly essential. Also, school is till 3pm and the end of term in Britain is not as hard as the rest of the year with school trips and other less "academic" activities. And if you are both working parents then you need to send your child to some form of holiday club.
It depends on the parent's attitude to parenting and what they consider 'cruel' is.
In the end, I've realised that the vast majority of heritage language speaking parents are just not that interested in their children speaking their language or speaking it well. And I can't expect other parents to be as interested and 'fascinated' as I am. I just feel sorry for the kids who are missing out on a great opportunity.
The challenges for sending your child to your country are of course cost in the end. That includes having someone to do the childminding and take them to school. Getting into the school takes a bit of effort, but is 'merely' a bureaucratic process.
The child may also complain. But, as said above, most children need to receive some form of childcare. And if you add an incentive gift or holiday on completion of the schooling then that makes it easier to accept for them. Marc missed having his toys and things around him and the familar surroundings of home. We'll be thinking over what we did this year and seeing how we can 'improve' in any way the following summer. But, we are definitely planning on repeating the experience.
I made a lightening weekend trip back and surprised him by picking him and his cousins up from school. We also kept in touch by Skype and phone and his mother was in the UK with him for several weeks so, he didn't miss us too much.
Language Progress and lapses and why this is normal
Marc sounds English and again picked up many characteristics of the local children's speech during the stay as well as words and phrases that children use (not me!).
In general, I don't find that he has any problems expressing himself in English, and probably finds it easier to talk about certain subjects in English than in Catalan due to speaking to me. e.g. various sports and games.
Now and again he has certain lapses in both languages. Sometimes the easiest of words that just didn't come to him. He asked me "How do you say 'dessert' in Spanish? He talks to waiters in Spanish normally! And "How do you say 'green pen'?" Parents who are against bilingualism would use this as an argument, but are ignorant of the fact that this is normal even for monolinguals. A Word just doesn't come to your head. It's not because you don't know it. Just this week in a conversation I couldn't remember the work "acera" (pavement) in a conversation, even though I've used it hundreds of times.
He's used 'observe' instead of 'check this out' or 'look', which is the catalán or Spanish equivalent. In the end, it's a process and any small lapses along the way are more than justified to be bi or trilingual.
The cultural part of a visit to a country shouldn't be ignored. We coincided with the 30th Annual Robin Hood Festival norht of Nottingham. He was fascinated with an old man pretending to be a wizard. He had plenty of conversations with people at the fair. It was worth the 'effort'.