A mum-of-two has gone into business to help tots learn foreign languages.
Hartlepool woman Abigail Curtis, 35, from the High Throston area of Hartlepool, is determined to give her young boys Patrick, aged four, and 17-month-old Matthew the best start in life.
She wants them to learn foreign languages and, after searching the North-East for somewhere where the boys could learn French and Spanish, got the inspiration to go into business for herself.
Now, she runs the North Tees franchise for the business Lingotot and has taken on tutors to teach French and Spanish. She covers an area including Hartlepool, Sedgefield, Stockton, Norton and Newton Aycliffe.
Abigail, who is married to Marcus Curtis, 37, who works as a paramedic, said: “As a mum to two young boys, I am very interested in developing them to the best of my ability.
“One of the things I was very keen to do was introduce them to a foreign language very early on.
“I looked into research and everywhere states that starting a child with a foreign langauage as early as possible gives them lots of advantages in the language and they pick up the language so much easier.”
She began by taking her sons to Lingotot in Durham. Abigail said: “I have been taking my boys to these lessons for around three months now and they have both picked up so much French.
“My youngest doesn’t speak yet but will happily follow simple instructions given to him in French.
“Patrick can count from one to 20 in french and name all sorts of animals, parts of his body in French. The lessons are full of singing, games and stories all in the foreign language and the children love them.
“I’ve been so impressed with the lessons that I have bought the franchise for the North Tees area which covers Hartlepool where I live and the surrounding areas.
“I have been running Spanish community classes on a Saturday morning for about a month now and have generated enough interest to start French on Saturdays and as an after school class from this month. I also see these classes being brilliant for nurseries and primary schools.”
Abigail, whose grandfather Rene Berthou was French, said children as young as two months can pick up foreign languages.
“They say that for the first six months of their lives, babies listen to everything that is going on and start trying to speak after that. They are listening all the time.”
She said her own son Matthew was easily able to follow the instructions in French when she practised the language with her older son Patrick at home.
“We were jumping and dancing and Matthew was doing the actions. It astounded me that a little person who can’t talk can do this.”