Bilingualism has been shown to have numerous positive effects on brain development throughout a person’s life. Contrary to the notion of confusion or impairment, research indicates that being bilingual strengthens the mind from childhood to adulthood. The Pancha French (PF) Method aims to optimize brain-wiring in infants and children to help them reach their full potential by the time they reach Kindergarten. This approach combines Language Rich Caregiver Talk, Baby Sign Language (BSL), and Bilingualism/Multilingualism in a progressive and original way. Let’s explore the four stages of this method.
Stage 1: Language Rich Caregiver Talk The foundational stage of the PF Method is based on Dr. Dana Suskind’s research from the University of Chicago called “The 3Ts: Tune In, Talk More, Take Turns.” This stage emphasizes providing a language-rich environment to children up to the age of three. Interacting with babies through engaging and responsive language is crucial for their learning trajectory. Positive and supportive language, along with ample chit-chat and spontaneous banter, plays a significant role in brain development.
Caregivers are taught six strategies during this stage:
- The 3Ts Basics: Tune In, Talk More, Take Turns.
- The Art of Narration: Using the 3Ts effectively.
- Bookshare: Enhancing story time for better engagement.
- Math Talk: Introducing math concepts in everyday interactions.
- Explain Good Behavior: How language and interaction shape behavior.
- Catch The Child Being Good: Praising positive behavior.
Stage 2: Baby Sign Language (BSL) BSL offers babies a means of communication before they can verbally express themselves. Babies’ hand control allows them to use simple gestures, making BSL communication possible as early as six months old. Studies have shown that babies who learn BSL often develop larger vocabularies and speak earlier, leading to better educational outcomes.
Nine strategies are taught to caregivers during this stage: 7. Basics of BSL: Introduction to caregiver-focused approach and basic principles.
- The FREE Method: Making BSL fun through repetition and encouragement.
- Five Stages of Signing Development: Monitoring a baby’s progress in learning signs.
- Getting Everyone Involved: Involving parents and families in BSL.
- Advanced Teaching Methods: Using flashcards, props, books, and songs.
- Signing Phrases: Teaching compound signs and manners.
- Signing During The Toddler Years: Utilizing signing during toddler stages.
- Speaking & Signing: Encouraging verbalization while continuing to sign.
- Signing Beyond to Bilingualism: Using signing to bridge the path to bilingualism.
Stage 3: Bilingualism The bilingual stage mirrors Stage 1 but focuses on teaching the child Spanish while still using BSL as a bridge between English and Spanish. Consistent exposure to Spanish from infancy is crucial for successful bilingualism. Strategies from Stage 1 are applied in Spanish during this stage, along with some additional techniques.
Stage 4: Parental Support Parental involvement and support are essential for successful bilingualism. Parents are provided with condensed versions of the caregiver courses on Language Rich and BSL basics via Zoom. It’s crucial that parents understand and encourage the use of BSL by their children to avoid frustration.
Resources and Ongoing Support: Abundant resources, including books, songs, flashcards, and cheat sheets, are provided to support the caregivers and parents. Ongoing support through meetings and Q&A sessions helps caregivers and parents maintain their skills and ensure the success of the program.
The Pancha French Method is a life-changing approach that offers children and families the gift of multilingualism and enhanced brain development. By nurturing language-rich environments, introducing baby sign language, and fostering bilingualism, the PF Method sets children on a path to reach their unique potential. It’s an exciting opportunity for parents and caregivers to be part of this remarkable program that shapes young minds and creates a foundation for a lifetime of language proficiency and cognitive growth.