Meet inspirational 10-year-old Mayo boy who already speaks four languages!

October 25, 2023

Meet inspirational 10-year-old Mayo boy who already speaks four languages!

SHELDON Coyne from Westport couldn’t wait to get back to school this past week and continue his language learning journey, and he’s well on his way to becoming a superstar linguist.

A pupil at Scoil Phadraig, Sheldon started complementing languages at school by studying Spanish two years ago online with local Westport Language School. He loved it so much that took up French as well.

“Our brains are made so that we can handle learning one or more languages at the same time – lots of dedication and practice also help. In some parts of the world, learning multiple languages is normal. Even at school some children learn and speak another language that isn’t spoken at home, in fact some families only speak one language at home and within their community”, says Douglas Whittaker, owner of Westport Language School.

Mum Brigita, who speaks Lithuanian at home with Sheldon, said: “I am so proud of Sheldon’s thirst for wanting to learn new languages, he takes it all in his stride! In today’s world, I feel it is so valuable to speak additional languages as in the future it will open doors to many more opportunities.”

Douglas teaches the award-winning La Jolie Ronde course, which sees pupils learn in classes organised by age group, following the structured and progressive programme. Classes are taught through fun activities using games, songs, stories, roleplays and puppets, in a positive and supportive way. Each child also receives an accompanying activity book plus access to the Media App to enable them to have fun practicing at home whilst giving parents plus other family members the opportunity to have a go themselves.

“Young children have a wonderful advantage in that they pick up languages with ease. When they are exposed to language in an engaging and interactive way they learn in a fun and pressure-free environment.

“Learning becomes a thoroughly positive experience and by the time the child begins secondary school their foundation of language learning will provide them with a significant head start. Sheldon is a prime example and his ability and desire to learn are outstanding,” said Douglas.

Sheldon passed both the French Salut Céline et Antoine and ¡Hola, Pedro y Carmen! Spanish programmes with flying colours and has already signed up to do the advanced programmes that Westport Languages teach.

“Douglas is amazing at teaching and makes sure we all have fun as well, he makes it so easy and memorable I think learning a foreign language is very good for someone my age because I think it will be very useful in the future because I am planning to travel a lot around the world,” said Sheldon.

Originally appeared in Con Telegraph