By Geralde Vincent-Bancroft
Teaching languages to young children can have a ton of advantages. Did you know it? In fact, research has shown that early language learning can improve cognitive development, academic achievement, and even social skills. It’s never too early to start teaching your child a new language – in this blog post, we will explore some of the benefits of bilingual education.
Advantages of teaching languages
Young children absorb everything
It might sound counterintuitive, but the best age to introduce a child to a second language is between the ages of 0 and 3. This is the age when children are like little sponges, soaking up everything around them. Yes, their brain is more flexible and they are capable of detecting switches in languages as early as the age of six months old. Young children are able to recognise sounds, intonation patterns and structures of each of the languages they are exposed to because of the flexibility of their ear and speech muscles up to the age of 8. . It can also help them to better understand their own native language.
Young children have cognitive flexibility
Young children who are taught foreign languages have more self-control. This is because they must learn to neutralise one language when they are using the other. This requires attention and the ability to be flexible. They can switch from one language to the other on demand. They are able to maintain different concepts at the same time – like knowing the word for table in the two languages they are learning. and use one or another when required. This gives them the ability to multitask in the long run and in other areas of their lives.
Better problem solving skills
Children who are exposed to foreign languages at a young age also have better problem-solving skills. They can think more creatively because they are used to hearing different perspectives. When children are taught foreign languages, they learn how to better communicate with people who have different backgrounds. This is a valuable skill that will help them in their future careers.
Teaching languages to children allows then to develop cognitive skills
Teaching a foreign language to young children helps them to develop cognitive skills and learn to think analytically at an early age. It gives them a head start in studying another language later on in life. They have improved memory and concentration and as mentioned before an enhanced ability to multitask. The cognitive benefits have a direct impact on their academic achievements . They show improved reading, writing, and math skills and they generally score higher on standardised tests.
They don’t fear
Young children learning another language before the age of five use the same area of the brain that they use to learn their first language. They don’t fear making mistakes and they are not bothered by grammar rules. They just learn by mimicking those around them and improve with practice. Being self-conscious can be an obstacle though, in older ones.
Teaching foreign languages help children develop empathy
Teaching foreign languages also helps children develop empathy. They learn to see things from another person’s perspective and to understand their culture and values.
Young children understand better other cultures
Teaching languages can help young children to better understand other cultures. It’s important for children to be exposed to different cultures and languages from an early age so that they can become more tolerant and open-minded adults. They tend to display a more positive attitude towards everything that is foreign.
Learning a language introduces them to the rest of the world, and this is something that will follow them for the remaining of their lives. It can also give them a head start in learning another language when they grow up
Teaching languages Improves social skills
Another benefit of teaching young children a foreign language is that it can help to improve their social skills. It has been shown that bilingual children are more adept at communication and have better social skills than their monolingual counterparts. They are also more likely to be tolerant of other cultures and to have a greater understanding of the world around them. Children have enhanced listening skills which are beneficial for life and work. They are also more equipped to work and cooperate better with others.
Children learning a foreign language are more curious
Children are more curious when they learn a foreign language. They want to know how to say things and they’re excited to learn new words. This curiosity is what helps them to acquire the new language quickly and efficiently. They easily transfer this to other areas of their lives and it sets them for success.
Learning languages protects against Alzheimer’s
There are various studies providing evidence that learning a foreign language contributes to the growth of the structure of brain-related regions that usually are in decline in people with Alzheimer’s. Others speak of the relation between bilingualism and the delay of the onset of Alzheimer’s by four to five years. This is another reason, if you were still not convinced.
Teaching languages has a great number of benefits for children. It helps them to think creatively, work better with others and develop a strong sense of identity. It can help them in their academic journey by promoting creative thinking, teamwork skills, and problem-solving skills. If you are considering teaching your child a foreign language, keep these advantages in mind.
Do you want your child to get ahead? Teaching them a foreign language is a great way to do so! Teaching languages to young children can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your child. So why not give it a try? You may be surprised at how much your child enjoys it.