The Conti family lives in the lush Chianti wine country in Tuscany, Italy. Serena works in the logistics department of an international Swiss company and Marco is a logistics engineering manager in an Italian company. Nicole is 7 years old and has attended Helen Doron classes since she was 3. She attended Fun with Flupe, Didi the Dragon, Polly the Collie, More Fun with Flupe and is now enjoying her Jump with Joey class. She had the opportunity to experience both the private course and the larger kindergarten classes (Didi the Dragon and Polly the Collie) thanks to a special cooperation between Helen Doron and her school.
Elettra, who will be 2 in July, isn’t officially enrolled in Helen Doron classes yet, but like many younger siblings of Helen Doron students, “she sings and dances a lot every time her sister is listening or watching her Jump with Joey episodes at home!” her father related.
Marco said their exposure to English is rather limited. “At home we speak Italian and we don’t have many opportunities to speak other languages, except when we meet tourists looking for information.”
Nicole’s parents are very pleased with the Helen Doron methodology and the results. “We like this method that is quite different from the traditional methods to learn English, usually taught in Italian schools. Personally, I really like the importance of listening to episodes and songs at home in the background (even if it is an effort for the parents), because it’s a very good way to let children learn correct English pronunciation.”
Marco further explained how Helen Doron’s methodology differs from the way English is taught in Italian schools. “Traditional English classes in Italy are more focused on written English and grammar rules than on vocabulary and spoken English, and they have a scholastic approach. However, if we think about the way we learn our native language when we are infants, we realize that at first, we listen a lot to adults speaking, then we start to speak, and only when we go to school, we learn to write. Helen Doron’s approach focuses on fun and games, and I think this helps a lot in attracting children as they easily learn a new language by playing and having fun with their friends. Nicole’s English is much better than her friends who don’t attend Helen Doron, especially pronunciation and comprehension.”
The Contis realize the importance of their children enjoying the process of learning English. “Nicole enjoys time spent in class with her friends and her teacher. She is happy to go to the class every Monday afternoon, because she feels it as an opportunity to have fun and this is very important to help children in learning.”.
In Italy, like most places in the world, it is important to be able to communicate well in English. “ In our society, it is very important to know English for two main reasons:
a) from a cultural point of view, knowing English allows you to travel all around the world, meeting people of different backgrounds and knowing different ways of life, which is very important for your personal growth;
b) It is also important knowing English for the future of our children, when they will have finished their studies and they will start working. Companies are getting more and more international, and a good knowledge of English language can open more business doors.”