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Early bilingual educational programmes have been a feature of European and Hungarian education for the past two decades. Throughout this period these programmes have had to face a great deal of criticism from numerous practitioners of education. Negative assumptions and reservations were mostly due to the fact that until the 1990s there had been little research in the field of second language learning and the young child. The prevalent view held that language learning was a highly demanding academic subject, and being so, completely unsuitable for children under the age of ten. Practice, however, has proven that early instruction in foreign languages can lead to an early competence in languages as well as in other fields of education. What we already know is that young children do neither better nor worse in languages than other learners, they just do it differently. It is this 'difference' that makes early language learning a special subject in its own right under the umbrella term of Second Language Teaching and Learning. Teaching foreign languages in general, and English, in particular to young learners has become an independent professional field with a sound and ever-growing research literature of its own. We hope that The World at Their Feet. Children's Early Competence in Two Languages through Education will be a welcome contribution to educators both in the Hungarian context, and beyond. Judit Kovács and Éva Trentinné Benkő are based at ELTE Faculty of Primary Education, Budapest and have been working together for two decades. Their co-operation is based on a shared professional background: they both received their Master of Education degree in TESOL to Young Learners at the University of Leeds, U. K. These studies have led to a number of joint publications. Both wrote their PhD dissertations on the topic of early CLIL, and Judit received her habilitation also in this field.
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