Most adults took a foreign language class for a year or two in high school or college. Sure, a few words or key phrases about a bathroom location or train might still be somewhere in your memory but it is likely that you never really had complete fluency of the language. Maybe you were the lucky one who went overseas on vacation and use some of what you learned to communicate, but once you got home you stopped using the words you learned and dumped it all.
But for young kids it’s different. It is better for them to learn at a younger age because they can do it better than adults can. Growing up learning a foreign language as a child, as early as 3, is incredibly beneficial. The brains of young kids are perfectly suited to soak up a foreign language at an impressive rate. Moreover, learning to speak at such a young age means they will speak without an accent.
Below are the top five reasons why learning new languages is good for young kids:
1) Better Linguistics
When children learn a foreign language at a young age it results in better fluency. Children are definitely sponges, able to absorb much more than adults. They can developmentally accept foreign languages with great fluency, with great rapidity, and without an accent. From age 8 to 12 children lose that ability to hear and reproduce a new sound, which makes it more challenging for them to absorb a language.
Children also get better cognition. The idea of object performance develops sooner. Kids become better at problem solving and critical thinking skills. Moreover, kids get enhanced memory, better mind flexibility, more creativity, and they are better at multi-tasking.
3) Better Academic Achievement
Learning a foreign language as a child also improves mental flexibility, problem solving skills, and critical thinking all three of which improve academic performance. In fact, children who are bilingual have demonstrated better standardized test scores and better math.
4) Cultural Exposure
It is important for children to be well-rounded, to have a good appreciation for other cultures, and to grow up being successful members of society. Learning a second language opens that door. It allows kids to gain a leg up in the workplace as an adult, gives a better understanding of cultures, and helps to enrich personal experiences.
5) Social Contributions
Parents all want their kids to change the world. Teaching children second languages does just that. Americans who are fluent in a second language as adults have better economic competitiveness not only at home but abroad. They can promote better cultural diversity within the States and can fulfill job positions like airline employees, media correspondents, international trade specialists, and more. Law enforcement personnel, customer service representatives, healthcare providers, and teachers alike can all be more effective when they have an understanding of other cultures and other languages. Developing these skills as a child will help children to improve their effectiveness later on in life.