We are living in a multicultural country with the 2016 Census revealing that over 300 languages are spoken in Australian homes. The Australian Bureau of Statistics also confirmed, that more than one-fifth of Australians speak a language other than English at home. Growing up with two or more languages does not only benefit our community but also our children.

Over the last decade, there have been several studies confirming the amazing benefits of being bilingual – understanding and speaking two languages. 

Providing your child with a bilingual and bi-cultural education can empower your child to lead their own learning journey and to think critically about a world without borders. 

The advantages of a bilingual education range from strong thinking skills, better reading and mathematical comprehension, great intercultural and communication skills to logic-driven problem-solving and decision-making.

Multilingualism is more than just the addition of multiple languages. Two mother tongues enable students to see the world from different perspectives, to realise their individual potential, and to become creative and confident participants in the global community.

Former Minister for Education, Martin Dixon MP, already recognised in 2011, that: “In an increasingly globalised world it is imperative young people are equipped to compete in a global economy and global society. This will require not only knowledge of other languages but also the skills to excel in a highly connected world” (‘Victoria as a Learning Community’, November 2011).

“A bilingual education is powerful. It helps children develop and understand diverse perspectives  and opens a world of opportunity.”

In accordance with the Victorian Government’s Vision for Languages Education 2013-2025, Deutsche Schule Melbourne embraces the benefits of a bilingual education throughout the school’s vision, mission, philosophy and its immersion strategy. Teaching is based on a ‘one teacher-one language’ approach, in which teachers only conduct classes in their native language, be it German or English. This approach ensures that each language is modelled by native speakers, minimising confusion and creating more opportunities for practise. All teachers at the school speak English and German fluently. From Foundation Year to Year 6, the focus is on content and language integrated learning (CLIL). This involves running classes in both German and English – and teaching the cultural values of each country. In line with current research on children from both bilingual and monolingual backgrounds, students learn to read and write in German
and English concurrently.

By Bernice Ressel, Principal at Deutsche Schule Melbourne.