6 Benefits of Foreign Language Learning for Kids
In general terms, the younger someone’s mind is, the easier it is to learn a second or even third language
Studies suggest that at a cognitive and academic level, children learning an additional language are more creative, better at solving complex problems and usually score higher at school. While children of every age benefit from learning a second language, research studies particularly support starting bilingual education at the preschool level. At this age they are also better at mimicking new sounds and adopting pronunciation than are older learners. Very young children readily learn through play-like activities. Once children know a second language, they are less self-conscious than older learners, are more brave to try out newly acquired language skills without fear of embarrassment and it is easier for them to understand further languages structures, which is why experts say that every new language learnt is easier than the one before. Children will reap the most benefits when they begin bilingual education early in their lives, so start today!
It makes kids smarter
The demand of juggling between two languages improves the brain’s executive function giving the brain a good workout. It is like exercising the brain. The brains of older lifelong bilinguals, young early bilinguals and adult early bilinguals are found to have thickness of the myelin – known as 'myelination' – compared to monolinguals, responsible for the transfer of information faster and with much fewer losses. There's even more scientific evidence that bilingualism shapes not only language, but also cognitive development in general, and moreover, those who do grow up as multilingual speakers exhibit more brain activity in areas that are responsible for problem-solving, attention redirection and other crucial functions.
Because their brains are active and more flexible, bilinguals understand math concepts and solve word problems more easily. A study by Illinois State University found students who study foreign languages tend to score better on standardized tests than their monolingual peers, particularly in the categories of maths, reading, and vocabulary.
Compared to monolingual children - bilingual children develop a better working memory, which holds, processes and updates information over short periods of time. They have more language rules and intricacies to remember when communicating, and more information and associations to retain and recall, which contributes to stronger memory, cognitive boost and improved process of learning.
improved multi-tasking & problem solving
As a bilingual, you are constantly choosing in which language to say a word, and this gives you a lot of practice choosing important information and ignoring extraneous details. Bilingual children can pay attention better and for longer. They can pay focused attention without being easily affected by surrounding distractions. Bilingualism also improves their ability to switch from one task to another more efficiently. A study in Scotland and Italy found that bilingual children were significantly more successful than their monolingual peers in problem-solving and creativity tasks.
more university & job opportunities in the future
Looking to the long term benefits, the ability to speak a foreign language is a great skill to boast on their CV. Bilinguals have an advantages in the real world in terms of employment and other economic opportunities.
reduced risk of age-related dementia
According to the latest study, individuals who speak more than one language are more resistant to or develop dementia symptoms an average of five years later and are able to cope with a greater level of brain dysfunction than monolinguals living in the same geographic area.