At International Bilingual School Ljubljana IBSL, bilingual teaching stands for raising and teaching children in two languages at the same time and equally in all subjects that are a part of the curriculum. We practice fully bilingual education for all children, independently of their national, linguistic or cultural background.
This is an educational model prepare the children to become citizens of the world with no borders – they will develop academic, linguistic and cultural competencies needed to be active members in today's global society. Bilingual classes are an opportunity for the children to learn a second (or third, ...) language by learning about all things relevant (also) through those additional languages.

For bilingual children

Bilingual teaching is extremely important for children from multi-lingual families. Their exposure to multiple languages begins even before the birth and continues throughout their early childhood. Such children may speak one language, say Slovene, to one parent, and English, German, Italian, ... to the other. Maybe there is even a third of fourth language spoken in the family with grandparents, cousins, etc.
Being immersed in a fully bilingual programme at school further strengthens the parallelism of learning everything in multiple languages. This enforces the natural flow of thoughts in multiple languages and continues to encourage the children to actively use all the languages they are learning.

For Slovene-speaking children

Through bilingual teaching, the Slovene native-speakers develop the full ability to actively use a second language, English. However, this process also helps them learn more and faster about their first language while also preparing them later to learn a third, fourth and any subsequent languages. At the same time, children also develop strong awareness of cultural diversity thus opening their minds to wider perception of the environment they find themselves in.

For non-Slovene speakers

Bilingual primary education is also highly recommended to the children of the international community. On the one hand, it makes it much easier for these children to integrate in the local community while still using their mother tongues at home with their parents and other family members.
Furthermore, such children can much better leverage the opportunity given to them to learn about the local habits and culture, thus giving them a priceless life experience of continuous learning and cultural diversity – while actively engaging with the local children and their day to day activities.

Advantages of Bilingualism

Recent research has revealed significant advantages of bilingual (and multilingual) education.

Children that are raised speaking two or more languages:

  • ...can focus better;
  • ...can switch between activities better and faster;
  • ...are more creative;
  • ...achieve better linguistic and other academic results;
  • ...have better logical thinking;
  • ...are better at learning further languages;
  • ...are better protected from brain damage and illnesses due to changed brain function
  • ... have better analytical and problem-solving abilities;
  • ... have more developed imagination;
  • ... have better self-esteem and trust others more;
  • ...can understand, accept and respect cultural diversity;
  • ...can better adjust to new situations, people and events.

Particularly good results can be seen with children learning multiple languages from the very early years. Our kindergarten programme introduces multiple languages through play and fun – and children embrace additional languages completely naturally, just as another mother tongue. As no formal pressures to learn are present, children's inner curiosity and strong desire to communicate further simplify the process of acquiring further languages.

Some more information on bilingualism:

A scientific study on bilingualism: The Astounding Effectiveness of Dual Language Education for All

Interview with a leading neuroscientist on effects of bilingualism on children: The Bilingual Advantage


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