I smile to see Government proposals to introduce Greek, Latin, Mandarin to primary pupils. I wonder how they will train the teachers or, with cut budgets, bring in the specialists to be able to deliver on this idea?
I am convinced that foreign languages are important in the global marketplace, and the younger we start, the better. In my opinion, age 7 is too late. The ideal window, that when a very young child is acquiring their first language and is so open to new sounds, has already closed.
We moved to Turkey when our eldest son was 3 and a half, and his brother 2. Our 2 year old learned far more easily and, having attended a Turkish nursery, spoke Turkish just like a little Turkish child. Our eldest son learned too but, even at that young age, it was not so easy. Of course, they do not speak Turkish now because they don't have need to. But I am convinced those language learning pathways, which were opened when they were small, help them now to learn Chinese and will help them in the future to learn other languages.