I just learned from my wife that she has sent off a request for a free Disney English System sample DVD. It’s widely accepted that if you want your child to be proficient in a foreign language, then you should start their learning from a young age.
The last decade has seen Japan’s “English conversation” schools fall over themselves trying to recruit students at a younger and younger age. For example, when I started working at ECC in 1998 their Kids English World program was really taking off, with classes for kids as young as four. The next year, selected teachers were picked and given “special” training for their new course for three year olds. NOVA stepped up and offered classes for toddlers and every other school followed.
The youngest kids I have taught are one and a half year olds, and while fun to watch, you don’t really get much out of them. The argument is however, that because they are listening to native English, they will “absorb it like a sponge”, especially picking up on rhythm and intonation.
So, it’s not really a surprise that Disney is pushing this philosophy hard, offering two programs – one for pregnant mothers, and the other for 0-4 year olds.
I’ll reserve judgement until I see the sample, but my initial reaction is I don’t want my son, little Riku, sounding like Mickey Mouse… or even worse… Donald Duck!If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!