Language expert Katia

'Your baby can already hear in the womb from about 20 weeks, so you can start stimulating your baby’s language development early.'

Can you explain as simply as possible what your work entails?

As an independent project leader, consultant and concept developer, I deal with topics such as language development, reading promotion, low literacy and the family approach to literacy. I often work on assignments for libraries, provincial support organisations or municipalities to develop a project or programme or provide advice on these topics. Language and reading are always the common denominator!

What do you like most about your work?

I’m proud that I made my childhood dream of doing 'something' with language and reading come true. Every day I try to convey my passion and the importance of this subject to others.

Do you think speaking multiple languages is important? And if so why?

Yes, I believe it’s very important. When you travel to other countries you see why it is nice to speak different languages. Languages give you a wonderful insight into a culture.

What’s one thing that all parents should know about language acquisition?

You can start stimulating your baby's language development very early on. Your baby can hear in the womb from about 20 weeks, so you can start talking to your baby even then. The foundations for language skills are laid in the first 1,000 days of your child's life. It’s very important to talk to your child, read to them, and sing songs during their first 1,000 days. It doesn't matter if it’s in Dutch or another language.

Would you advise parents to teach their children multiple languages? If yes, why?

Absolutely! We know from scientific research that mastering multiple languages has many advantages. Multilingual children often have better concentration, can think abstractly at an earlier age and learn other languages more easily.

What tip would you give to parents considering teaching their child multiple languages at an early age?

Talk to your child in the language of your heart! This is probably the language you speak best, and therefore the one in which you can express things like emotions and humour. This creates a stronger, deeper bond with your child.

About Katia

I am Katia van Bommel, 37 years old and mum of a chatty 3-year-old daughter. I am committed to a literate society as an independent consultant, project leader and concept developer.

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With Jungle the Bungle's app, children aged between 2 and 8 can learn a new language in a very fun way. Why so young you might ask? Young children in particular learn a new language very easily.

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