These days, more and more preschools and elementary schools are introducing a second language to their students. Educators have long understood the benefits of early immersion, but do you? What are the real benefits, beyond the obvious one, of gaining a new language skill?
It’ll Come Easier To Them Now Rather Than Later
Young children have absorptive and elastic minds. They’re not far away from learning their own language from you. Introducing a second language at a young age takes advantage of their quick memory and unconscious familiarity with the process. Furthermore, it has been shown that kids who pick up a language early in life tend to speak more fluently and with less of an accent than older kids, who may be more hesitant to make mistakes while speaking.
They’ll Make More Money Someday
The ability to read, understand, and speak more than one language is a great advantage in an increasingly interactive global world. It’s a bonus on a resume, and could lead to wonderful career opportunities both here and abroad.
Music May Come More Easily To Them
Learning new sounds fine-tunes a child’s ear to subtle differences. One study showed that speakers of tonal languages, where the manner in which a word is spoken determines the meaning, have a tighter grasp on musical pitch.
They May Live On Their Own, Longer
The science is in. People who’ve learned a second language well enough to be considered bilingual tend to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia four years beyond that of their monolingual peers.
They’ll Speak, Read, And Understand Their Own Language Better
Kids who learn a second language with different grammatical rules have a better grasp of their own because of the forced comparison. They tend to read earlier and pick out mistakes with more alacrity than their monolingual peers.
They’ll Increase Their Test Scores
Tens of thousands of kids have been tested, and the resulting research is astonishing. Kids who have studied a second language tend to do better on the verbal sections of both the ACTs and SATs and have even seen a boost in the math section on the ACTs. The long-term cognitive benefits include better listening, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills.
Along with these practical benefits of learning a second language, there are a host of intangible ones. There’s a joy in learning about different cultures and developing empathy for others. Most of all, there’s a joy in learning how to communicate better with the wonderful world around us.