Early Childhood Education – The Best Time For Bilingual Learning
It goes without saying that a good education is one of the best ways to prepare that child for the future and that begins on day one. Many studies have shown and experts believe that from the ages 2 to 5, the brain is at its most flexible at this stage. Particularly for those who are teaching their child a second language, they should keep this in mind.
The Bilingual Future
A truth about our nation that has never been more true is the existence of a diverse, global society. It is a necessity almost now a days to be multilingual. Not only for them to succeed in a hard economic time, but it's important for children in this diverse society to have intercultural appreciation and sensitivity.
Typically teachers begin teaching a second language in middle school, or sometimes even high school. Recent research contradicts this, showing that this teaching can begin at their child care facilities. Studies clearly demonstrate that the optimal period in a child's life for multilingual education is during the preschool years – at exactly the same time they are learning their first language. Yes, it is possible to learn a second and third language later in life, but it is more difficult, because that neurological "window of opportunity" – when the brain is most malleable – has passed.
Parents, don't worry either, it will not interfere with them learning or perfecting English. It's as easy for young children to learn two or three languages as it is for them to learn one.
Where To Start
The best way for a child to learn a second language is by actually speaking it in a total immersion environment. While it's not that easy to simply take your child to another country, it is easy for you to get involved with this learning process at home. Have a theme night with the food, music and traditions of the country from which the language they're learning is from.
Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas
Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Austin child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose child care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.
Thank you Emily and Kathleen!
Here's my question: Are you looking into having your child learn a second language. Are you bilingual yourself? And if you are, how easy is it to incorporate the second language in your daily life?