How do children learn languages? What all children have in common is curiosity and an ability to learn. Research tells us that babies begin to understand language about twice as fast as they actually speak it. According to Dr Patricia Kuhl, what’s going on in a baby’s brain is nothing short of miraculous. ‘By three, a little child’s brain is actually twice as active as an adult brain.’
Children aren’t afraid to play with language and sound. Rhymes and songs fascinate them. They hear and try-out different rhythms. They mimic the sound of new words. They love the repetition of familiar stories and songs. With all of these activities, they are unconsciously working on tone, pitch and pronunciation.
Encouraging children to learn a second language is a great way for them to succeed in every aspect of their adult lives. Several studies have shown that children who learned a second language when young increased their problem-solving skills and creativity. They also developed an interest in different cultures, becoming comfortable growing up in our world, where languages and cultures overlap every day.
While children of every age benefit from learning a second language, research particularly supports starting bilingual education at the preschool level. Yes, that’s right —in nursery.
Here at la Academia we know this very well and it drives our teaching. We teach Spanish and French at nurseries all year round. Our ‘lessons’ are mainly based on songs, rhymes, dancing, games and repetition. Children have lots of fun and learn a great deal before the age of four.
When you are choosing a nursery school, make sure you ask if they provide language lessons because there will never be a better time for your child to become bi-lingual. If you can’t find a nursery to meet your needs, why not get together with like-minded parents? Then contact us to create your own French, Spanish or even Mandarin pre-school learning group. We can work most hours from early mornings to weekends and in a location to suit you.
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