Importance of Learning a Foreign Language at a young age
Learning a new language is rewarding at any age, but children benefit from learning another language at a very young age. Kids are usually super adoptive & quick to learn and pick up a new language. There are also many benefits children can reap when they learn a second language. A number of research studies have shown that children who learned a second language at a young age demonstrated cognitive advantages, such as increased problem-solving skills and creativity.
Why Learning Foreign Language Easier for Kids
- Our brains are designed to learn languages before we reach puberty. It’s a good idea to start learning as early as possible.
- Babies can differentiate all the sounds of language before 10 -12 months then they start to lose this capacity according to the sounds they find useful (their mother language). Therefore, it’s good to expose babies to many different languages so they retain this ability.
- Children think more simply and therefore have less to learn. They don’t get overwhelmed while attempting to communicate complex thoughts like adults do.
- Children have much more time to dedicate to language learning. Learning is their full-time job.
- Bilingual brains experience a non-stop, full mental workout.
- This leads to improved planning, problem-solving, concentrating, and multitasking.
- This brain exercise contributes to divergent, out of the box thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Bilingual children are more creative.
- Learning a second language leads to improved test scores during childhood and adolescence.
- As children get older, their bilingualism can help them get jobs and earn higher wages.
- They’ll also have more opportunities to travel, connect to their heritage or get to know other cultures.
- Finally, as they approach old age, their bilingualism will have the capacity to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by 4.5 years.
Primary Benefits of Learning Foreign Language at Early Age
Better Language Acquisition
A child who learns a foreign language at a young age (from birth to about 10 years old) will pick it up much easier, and have the capacity to speak like a native! While it’s certainly possible to become highly competent at a language at any age, it requires more effort as you get older. Learning when young allow opportunities to associate a new language with fun and play activities and for making mistakes without the self-consciousness or embarrassment that often act as blocks for older students.
Cognitive Benefits and Mental Health
Experts point out that learning a foreign language can lead to improvements in the ability to concentrate, greater mental agility, improvement in memory and attention, the ability to effectively perform several tasks at the same time, and the ability to make more connections between different concepts. Bilingual children as young as seven months have been shown to better adjust to environmental changes, and bilingualism also seems to protect against dementia. Research also shows that there is a relationship between early bilingualism and creativity.
The above benefits lead on to the next one: children who learn more than one language have been shown to have an advantage at school! Research from the Millenium Cohort Study has found that children who speak more than one language do better than monolingual students in verbal and maths standardised tests by the age of seven.
Better Job Opportunities in Future
Giving the gift of another language to your child can mean they have more employment opportunities when they are older. Many companies and employers place a lot of importance on having a second language, and applicants who speak more than their native tongue may well have the advantage. In particular, opportunities for work in fields such as tourism, translation/interpretation, teaching and journalism all open up if you speak more than one language, not to mention the possibilities for working in other countries.
Children who grow up learning a foreign language develop more curiosity and appreciation for the world around them and for different cultures. Through language, they can become more aware of the uniqueness and diversity of different cultures, contributing greatly to their personal development and encouraging open-mindedness, tolerance and a sense of global citizenship.
If you feel that this is useful and looking for someone who can help your kids learning a second language, https://wondryears.com/ is here to help you. We have a diverse set of online courses covering international languages like French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Dutch, Arabic etc and also some regional language courses like Hindi, Marathi etc.
“A different language is a different vision of life” – Federico Fellini