For the Brooklyn baby with too much free time on his hands, French classes can now be added to the activity roster. Coucou Brooklyn, a language center in Wililamsburg, is offering courses for children between 1 and 2 years old.
Léa and Marianne Perret opened Coucou two months ago, and classes for babies began on October 2nd. The tiny pupils spend 45 minutes playing, drawing, and making music in French as their parents and caregivers look on. “This is the perfect age to start developing a child’s ear, ” says Léa Perret. “We’re not trying to teach them grammar.”
Perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, Coucou is not Brooklyn’s first French class for babies. Last year, a former teacher in Crown Heights launched a class for infants called simply, “Baby French.” Not to be outdone, Manhattan babies can learn the language of love the French Institute / Alliance Français’ “A Petits Pas” courses for Francophiles from 1 to 5 years old.
If you think the idea of teaching a second language to a barely-verbal baby sounds absurd, think again. Recent studies have shown that infants as young as 7 months old are capable of distinguishing between different grammatical structures by observing the tone and length of various sounds.
Classes at Coucou Brooklyn are small: only 8 students each. With only 2 free spots left in mid-September, Brooklyn parents seem to agree: it’s never too young to start learning a language.