March 15, 2016 4:19 pm
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Isobel Eason from Hartlepool qualified for the Junior Language Challenge final two years in a row, and came third last year, with her proud family cheering her on. Here her mum Vickie shares their experience of the competition…

If you’re a parent or teacher of children aged 10 and under in the UK, visit juniorlanguagechallenge.com to find out more about our annual competition, which is now open! Entry costs just £5, which is all donated to our fantastic charity, onebillion.

The Junior Language Challenge has been an amazing experience from start to finish. My daughter Isobel thoroughly embraced the challenges and new languages that it offered.

Isobel qualified for the final in each of the last two years. The first year was a daunting experience but being one of the youngest to qualify that year did not put her off. As a family we all learnt along with her, even creating songs and rhymes to help her learn some of the trickier phrases. We sometimes still all sing them on the way to school on a morning whenever something reminds us of the languages she studied. She did really well in the final that year, finishing just outside the top 15. 

The following year was a different story for Isobel. We noticed a real difference in the way she approached learning the new languages and every spare minute she had she spent practising. Mandarin has to have been one of her favorites. The final was very different as we all knew what to expect. I was dreading the leaderboard the most, it’s horrible to see the children moving up and down and I don’t know how Isobel managed to block it out. We were overjoyed when she made the final round, though we spent the entire final on the edge of our seats! I was so nervous for her but she was amazing, and her face when she had finished and looked at the scoreboard was an absolute joy. She had finished third! All of her hard work and determination had paid off. 

I was amazed throughout at how quickly she picked up the different languages. The JLC and their fantastic team of people has provided Isobel with an invaluable experience, learning six languages over the last two years whilst also supporting the very worthy onebillion charity. It’s been an adventure that none of us will ever forget and one that we can’t recommend highly enough.
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