What we do?
Babel Babies runs award-winning multilingual, multisensory music and story sessions, where parents (and early years settings) with children from birth to age 10 learn languages together. We have created a method of enjoying the language-learning process, and rather than focusing on attainment in a single language as in most monolingual methods, we explore the connections and human transactions between languages. This gives everyone the metalinguistic skills to learn any language, and in turn helps with literacy in English too because it raises language awareness. Our online early-years languages course is available worldwide, and our multilingual music is available for download on Spotify, iTunes, etc. and we have a carefully-curated selection of language-related products and picture books in foreign languages available in our online shop to support families and settings wishing to create a multilingual environment.
Why we do it?
Founder Cate Hamilton was a secondary school French and English teacher and had experienced the apathy that teenagers showed towards learning anything at all about languages if they didn't see how it related to them directly. And then, as a new mum, she saw that babies are primed and ready to absorb language from birth. However, as an English-speaking family in the UK, it felt unusual to speak French to her new baby and since Cate also speaks Italian and Portuguese, she wanted to transmit a love of all these languages. Together with Ruth Ahmedzai, a German, Russian and Arabic to English translator, she came up with the idea to explore lots of languages and Babel Babies was born. After lots of research to work out whether babies will get confused when exposed to multiple languages (they won't!), we are now confident that singing languages is a brilliant way to foster a love of languages in young children, and builds confidence in adults to explore languages too, even if they are not linguists or native speakers. Everyone is somewhere on the language-learning journey and you can learn languages together, making the process explicit to children.