“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

What Research Says

The “mother tongue” refers to the first language a child learns at home. Research tells us that the development of a child’s first language is connected to the acquisition of the second language. The skills acquired in the first language are transferred to the second language. If children fail to reach competency in their first language, they will struggle learning a second language.

Learn more about how to support mother tongue.

Use of the Mother Tongue

Although English is the language of inclusion at Magic Years, we encourage the use of the mother tongue at school when necessary. Each child’s mother tongue is respected and valued. The use of the mother tongue is extremely important for gaining a deeper understanding of concepts. It is important that children are able to communicate his or her understanding and learning no matter what language is used.

What to do at Home

At home, families should be encouraged to communicate with their children in their mother tongue. Parents should make sure their children have access to literature and children’s books in their mother tongue. Conversations should be devoted to discussing deep concepts and complex language in the mother tongue. Children should also gain exposure to the mother tongue through play dates, language lessons and vacations that allow for immersion in the mother tongue.