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Hello,

We are an Italian-Chinese family living in London. My daughter is 2.5 yrs old and she knows Italian and Chinese quite well. Thanks to the internet, since birth she has access to nursery rhymes in Italian, Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, and to a lesser extent, in French, Japanese and German. These are the languages we know 'more or less' as a couple put together. Our daughter enjoys singing these songs daily. She is our only child.

We use Italian and Chinese directly with her, never English. She hears English when she interacts with kids outside of the family, and when she listens to our conversations between husband and wife. We feel English is the sleeping language that will be very easy for her to learn as soon as she goes to nursery/school. It can potentially take over her two family languages soon as she starts nursery/school. With this in mind, we are not in a hurry to 'teach' her English.

We'd like our daughter to start nursery/kindergarten soon. We have two nursery/kindergarten in mind - one is German and the other is English. The original plan is to have her go to the German kindergarten for 2 full days/week, and the English one for 2 half days/week. We're thinking to start from the time when she will be 2 years and 9 mths old.

My question is: what would be the best way and the best timing to do this? Will it be too stressful and confusing by introducing two languages and the concept of school all at the same time?

My daughter will have the natural hurdle of leaving her family and going to a nursery like any kids. On the top of that, she will have 2 new languages to catch up. We know nursery/kindergarten will be a natural way to expand her languages, but we surely want her to enjoy nursery/kindergarten. We also want to still spend enough time with her to sustain and grow her level of Italian and Chinese.

She enjoys singing and interacting with people in both language settings. German is of interest to us because we want her to learn the language. My husband speaks a bit of German as well so it can be a language he can 'help' her with. 
Although she has listened to some German songs on computer since birth, she only started using it on a weekly basis since she became 2 years and 5 mths. English has been the community language since birth. Both her parents are fluent in English.

She probably has to go through 2 years of nursery/kindergarten. If so, should we start her for 2 days in the German kindergarten first and the English nursery a year later, or at least a month apart?

Any parents out there having introduced a third or fourth language to their children through kindergarten/nursery please? 

Any comments and advice will be most welcome. Thanks. 


1. Country you live in: UK

2. Languages the family speaks: Father and grandmother: Italian; Mother: Cantonese Chinese
3. Ages of the children: 2.5 years old
4. Language system: Father's side:  Italian; Mother's side: Chinese

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