Being multilingual is a skill that many adults wish they had. It has immense benefits, from increasing career prospects to enhancing social skills, which is why it’s recommended for young children to learn a second language as early as possible.
If you’re looking for early childhood programs, centres in Concord regard foreign language highly on their curriculum. Keep reading to find out 8 reasons why children should learn a second language.
1. Learning a second language improves a child’s I.Q.
Learning a second language will greatly accelerate a child’s I.Q. because it requires advanced skill and development. It boosts reading and writing skill, enhances vocabulary, and even increases mathematical ability. All of this improves overall academic performance and results higher grades in school.
2. Learning a second language enhances a child’s cognitive brain function
Learning a second language (or a third language) has incredible cognitive benefits for children. This is because it requires the brain to be strengthened, sharpened and more focussed in order to absorb and retain new information. The better a child’s memory is, the better their brain function is, and thus their ability to pick up new skills is greater.
3. Learning a second language encourages a child’s creativity
It may be surprising, but bilingualism has been linked to enhanced creativity. It is believed that because bilinguals have “sharper” brains and bigger attention spans, they are able to think more “divergently” – i.e. flexibly and fluently. The more agile and focussed a brain is, the easier it is to think creatively.
4. Learning a second language improves a child’s native tongue
There is a misconception that when a young child is exposed to more than one language he or she will struggle to grasp his/her native language due to “overloading” and “confusion”. However, this idea has been debunked as studies have found that when a young child is introduced to a second language their first language actually improves. This is because they have a greater understanding of language concepts, sentence structure, etymology and grammar. The more a child thinks linguistically, the easier they will pick up other languages later in life.
5. Learning a second language broadens a child’s horizons
Another huge reason why it’s good to encourage young children to learn a second language is that it increases their career prospects and future opportunities.
There are roughly 6,500 languages in the world, and an enormous 20% of the world’s population speaks English. This means there is great scope for a child to master languages that most others do not, and this expertise can present amazing job opportunities.
Bilinguals and multilinguals can thrive in industries like education, tourism, translation, publishing, national security, social work, healthcare and more. Jobs in these fields can come with large salaries attached, but employers in other fields may also see the value of candidates with a second language.
6. Learning a second language introduces a child to new cultures
Career prospects aside, learning a second language opens a child up to new cultures, cultural understandings, histories and societal ideas. Through immersing themselves in other cultures, a child is more empathetic, well-rounded, considerate and open-minded – qualities that will set them in good stead for the future.
7. Learning a second language improves a child’s social skills
Naturally, the more languages a person knows, the more people they can communicate with. When a child learns a second language they can take opportunities to speak to other children from different countries and nationalities, which will not only improve their language skills but also their social skills.
Different languages involve different ways of communicating and expressing emotion, and the more exposed a child is to this, the better communicators they will be and the more empathy they will have. This will mean that they will find it easier to make meaningful connections with people as they grow up.
8. Learning a second language fine-tunes a child’s musicality
The connection between language and music may not be obviously clear, but the former has been said to improve the latter, especially in regards to Cantonese and Mandarin. Learning the Chinese language requires special attention to inflexions and pitch, which can fine-tune a musical ear and make it easier to identify different notes and pitches.
With the benefits of learning a second language so clear, it’s recommended that you introduce your young child to bilingualism to give them the best start in life!