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How studying a second language from an early age helps your children in school, at home, and beyond
In our increasingly diverse society, the ability to speak a second, or even third, language is of growing value. Opening our minds to learning and embracing new languages, especially from a young age, can bring rich rewards and be a great way to prepare our children for success in every aspect of their adult lives.
Whilst learning a second language at any age will bring multiple benefits, research studies have shown that early exposure to a second language will positively help define a child’s retention of vocabulary, pronunciation and cognitive development. As children’s brains develop, they retain new vocabulary and knowledge very quickly and, as a result, can grasp language structures far more naturally than adults. Consequently, the more exposure a child has to their new language, the more fluent they will eventually become.
By using a different language system, a child’s oral and written English communication skills will vastly improve. As their knowledge develops, they will begin to compare foreign words and phrases to their English counterparts and, as a result, find similarities, differences and anomalies. This general understanding will improve their problem-solving skills, creativity, reading, and writing in their school years, as well as their adult life.
Alongside this, introducing a second language into the home will encourage you and your child to learn about and develop a greater understanding of different cultures. This will allow your child to better understand the expressions and styles of communication that differ from our own, as well as the scale of the world in which we live. This opens their mind and can also be a great way for you and your family to explore different cuisines, activities and lifestyles!
Three top tips...
1. ‘PHRASE OF THE DAY’
Introducing and memorising a new phrase or word every day works wonders for learning languages. At the end of each week, sit down and recall the new phrases your child has learnt; offering a rewards system can motivate them even further to memorise these new phrases.
2. GET LABELLING
Write foreign words onto post-it notes or labels and stick them onto common household items such as mirrors, doors, the fridge, or the dining table. Every time you see that item, say the word. You will be amazed by how quickly you and your children remember them.
3. SHOPPING LIST LINGO
Memorising lists of vocabulary can be challenging and dull, so incorporating a second language into your weekly shopping list is a great way to make progress, while keeping you and your child engaged and interested. Start off by writing a couple of items on the list in your chosen language and increase this each week.