I'll admit, I was a bit nervous on his behalf on Monday morning. From now on, all day every weekday he will be in a sink or swim situation as far as learning Dutch. I know that kid's ability to pick up another language is better than an adult's, but even so I worried that the peuterspeelzaal could only do so much to prepare him, (he was only there 2-3 hours four times a week) and I could do even less since I'm still learning myself. I haven't truly been sure as to what he could do in Dutch since he is often reluctant to speak Dutch with me; but at the same time I often wondered how far along he was with the language, especially when he would insist, "Mama, at thuis, I speak Engels." (Mama, at home, I speak English.) Or, "Mijn Nederlands is niet zo goed. Ik spreek alleen een kleine beetje Nederlands." (My Dutch isn't very good. I only speak a tiny bit of Dutch.) Yeah... sure you do, kid.
But, despite my concern of sink or swim, he's in it now - and he seems to be swimming. It might just be the dog paddle at this stage, but it's certainly better than nothing. His teachers have both said that he's a bit shy (which we knew) which makes finding out what he already knows a bit difficult, but they feel he'll soon settle in, learn the rules, and start speaking Dutch more freely.
And already, after just a day and a half, I have seen the difference. Both days, Little Man was sprinkling his English conversation with me with far more Dutch nouns and verbs than normal - and I heard his dinosaurs speaking Dutch to each other during some of his solo play.
|Some of our Dutch dinos.|
There's still quite a bit for him to learn, but it's coming. I'm relieved, and thankful. And amazed at what a kid can accomplish in just a day and a half.
Do you have an unexpected experience with language learning (or learning in general)?