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Marie
Reply with quote  #1 
I am English  ( speak moderately good French) and live in France with my French husband  ( fluent English) .  Our 3 year old son  started nursery school last September but his teacher says that he is not developing as well as the others  ( he is the only bilingual child in the class and she has no experience with bilingual children)  She says he works well with the classroom assistant on a one to one basis but won't join in on group activities  preferring to run around and play instead of drawing, crafts etc,   She says he doesn't talk at all  to the other children but listens and observes closely.  It's true he does have enormous energy and getting him to sit still for 5 minutes at a time is a tough job.  She says that she has to ask him 5 times before he will stop what he is doing if she wants him to do anything and wonders how much he understands and that he seems to be in his own little world.  He often repeats exactly what you have just said instead of answering the question and even repeats in the other language sometimes.
At home he speaks well in both languages  just short sentences like mama can i have an orange juice please? and will repeat it in French  and he is word perfect in at least 6 or 7 different stories in English and in French.
My husband says he's fine and that the communication skills will come in time and nothing to worry about . I have an appointment booked to test his hearing just in case as i have hearing problems and naturally want my son tested too.  Does he sound like he's developing normally for a 3 year old ?  i have heard that bilingual children sometimes take longer to develop than a child with just one language.


Pat
Reply with quote  #2 
He actually sounds very much like my 3.5 year old son!  Or, just like my son a couple of months ago.  At this age, my son still often prefers independent or parallel play over interacting directly with other children.  He also is an observer.  His preschool teacher states that he has recently begun joining in activities when he feels comfortable.....but never in arts and crafts types of things.  They actually removed all of the cars, trucks and planes from the room last week, to encourage him and another boy to choose other play areas.  The teacher has 20+ years experience and has had many bilingual children.  She told me that she believes his behavior is more personality than language based, and that being an observer may be a very helpful trait in his schooling.

To give you additional perspective, we are raising our children (3.5 y.o. boy and 2.5 y.o. girl) bilingually with English and Spanish.  My husband and I are both native English speakers from monolingual families.  I speak Spanish at a conversational level.  But, we also have a fulltime nanny who speaks only Spanish with the children.

Good luck!
marie
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank for your reply Pat  it was very reassuring to know that this is normal and that he will join in when he is ready, I am thinking now that perhaps it has more to do with the teachers lack of experience ( I since found out she is newly qualified too)  rather  than any real problems with my son you are lucky to have  such an understanding teacher she sounds marvellous!  I had an appointment with the paediatrician yesterday which was principally for a different problem ( suspected allergies) This doctor was a North African gentleman and I told him about what's been happening in my sons nursery class and he said  not to worry about it, that as long as he is communicating with his parents at home and can make himself understood that he is fine and that we just keep the situation under surveillance he told me that any real problems show up after 4 years old that it was still too early yet but he thought there was nothing wrong with his hearing he told me  his young nephew speaks three languages and it is very beneficial  for a child to be multilingual they are usually very intelligent. Once again thank you for your reply  and the best  of good wishes to you and your family.
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