Different factors affect the development of bilingualism in children:
• The trigger for the acquisition of two languages early in life is always the young child’s need to interact with people who speak more than one language.
• The various stages of bilingual language development are affected by the age of the first contact with the second language;
• The level of competence that can be reached in both languages depends on the social context of the child.
Our school offers a bilingual Italian – English environment in which our Italian and English teachers use their own language when interacting with the pupils. In this way the children absorb both languages in a constant and natural way, every day. English as a language is taught separately but is “lived” in the general learning and social environment of the school.
A bilingual approach works particularly well in a Montessori context thanks to the concrete nature of the daily activities, to the fact that Montessori material is used both in Italian and English and to the individualized learning process for each child.