DAYCARE & OSC
There are a lot of misconceptions about bilingualism and multilingualism in kids. If you’re wondering whether exposing a young child to a second language early in his development is a good idea, the answer is yes!
Research has shown that there are many benefits to being able to speak more than one language. Learning to speak multiple languages at school and home challenges the brain and improves cognitive and social-emotional development, learning, and the chances for long-term success.
Linguists agree that bilingualism may give children an educational advantage over their peers by changing their understanding of certain concepts and improving their creative thinking abilities. It can help young children to acquire multiple sounds and tones in a much clearer manner as compared to speaking only one language. At the same time, some research has found that it may delay speech as it requires simultaneous acquisition of vocabulary in two languages.
A child’s linguistic competence is shaped by their home environment and, therefore hinges significantly upon their parents. Parents’ ability to teach child two languages plays a crucial role in bilingualism. It is very important that parents are well versed with the language that is in-use at the child’s school. If parent’s language is different than the language at school and parent don’t know the in-use school language, then it becomes a challenge for the child to explain due to limited vocabulary he/she has.
Speaking different languages helps to improve focusing abilities. If a child has good self-control, he’ll find it easier to focus his attention on what’s important and he’ll be less likely to become distracted while trying to listen to a teacher or complete a task. In social situations, he may have greater ease in tailoring his behaviour to a specific context. And when his peers suggest a potentially harmful activity, his self-control may make it easier for him to refuse.
Children are not confused by hearing more than one language. We have known for a long time that bilingual children separate their language from the age of 2. However, current research suggests they separate them from the beginning. Their organizing skills may not be very good for now but their recognizing and differentiating skills are already beginning to separate the different languages in mind. In this stage the more they learn and know, the better their language understanding will be.
As a general consideration, it will be beneficial to open a child to speak different languages if possible.
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