Benefits of Learning a new language in Early Childhood
Posted on September 19, 2019 by Early Innings
Speaking more than one language is a skill many people have, but not enough. Many of us have become complacent with being able to speak just one language. In fact, some people are actually proud of the fact. But speaking more than one language is something everyone should be able to do, and the key is starting young. Giving kids the tools or language learning apps to speak a new language opens up a whole world for them, literally.
In fact, the sooner you start the better. Research shows that kids have a strong mental capacity for learning a second (or third) language at a young age. During the first three years of life, the brain is doing a lot of growing. This study from Harvard University shows that certain functions of the brain are enhanced by learning a new language at a younger age. These include creativity, critical thinking skills, and flexibility of the mind. So, you don’t have to wait until they’ve mastered the English language — they can actually be learning English and another language simultaneously with ease.
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But if you’ve missed out on the window of starting before the age of five, fear not. Older kids are still perfectly capable of learning and becoming fluent in a foreign language. Though their brains aren’t quite as malleable as they are during the preschool years or even early elementary, tweens still have a great capacity for learning a second language. Between the ages of 10 and 13, there is still great potential for near fluency. If they start speaking more than one language by 15, they may sound almost like a native speaker.