Researchers in recent years have discovered the importance of teaching a child a second language early on, which differs from the previous belief that a child may feel overwhelmed if they begin to learn another language too soon in life. At U-GRO Learning Centres, we value the importance of incorporating a second language into your child’s learning and play. We also make learning another language fun for our friends.
As the saying goes, the earlier, the better! There are many advantages to learning another language. Children who learn two languages at once have an easier time developing their cognitive skills and shifting attention between tasks. Additionally, a child is more likely to sound like a native speaker if they learn a second language in tandem with the first.
The brain development that comes with learning a second language is also very crucial. There are six ways for a child to develop their brain: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and doing. Tapping into these six senses, your child will incorporate a second language into their everyday life.
Teaching your child a second language during this age allows them to learn through play, making it fun for you and for them!
Teaching sign language to infants
Because infants are unable to verbally communicate, sign language enables two-way communication between parents and infants. Sign language can help decrease frustration because it gives young children the ability to communicate their wants and needs. It also encourages eye and tactile contact, which enables bonding between parent and child.
You can introduce sign language to your child as early as six months old, but children of any age can benefit from learning basic sign language.
Teaching to one and two year olds
Toddler age is a great time to introduce a foreign language to your little one. Your child is still learning to speak and communicate, which means you can teach them communication skills in sign language or another language of choice. This learning process supports development of creativity, mental flexibility, and critical thinking skills. During these ages, your child’s brain is in full development mode as they increase their vocabulary and recognize specific speech patterns.
There are many toys to help you teach your child another language at home! Parents.com offers suggestions for bilingual toys and games that are age appropriate.
Learning a second language at ages three and four
A few long-term benefits seen in young children who learn a foreign language include academic success, cognitive development, and cultural awareness.
Regardless of your child’s age, the best way to introduce your young one to a second language is to do it in a very natural setting. Playtime is the best time to incorporate a foreign language because it helps children establish mental associations between learning and having fun. With this method, learning will come easier to your child and be more enjoyable for them.
It’s also important to have fun and use this learning experience as time to bond with your child. Although it will benefit them cognitively, be conscious of the social-emotional connection you are building with your child. Focus on having reasonable expectations for them as they learn. As the parent, incorporate your language of choice into everyday activities with your child. For example, saying “Buenas noches” to your son or daughter at bedtime every night will begin to resonate with them. Try greeting them or saying goodbye in another language. The hope is that the simple integration of another language into their daily activities will carry out for the long-term.
At each U-GRO center, we dedicate a portion of your child’s education to learning a second language. Our teachers use daily curriculum in tandem with fun activities to introduce your child to a foreign language. We start teaching infants and toddlers sign language and provide materials to parents to help teach the signs at home. As your child grows older, we introduce them to the Spanish language and culture and encourage parents to reinforce the lessons at home.
Learning a foreign language is an important life skill to incorporate into your son or daughter’s early education. Our Life Skills Curriculum page provides additional details on the techniques we use in our programs. Request more information from U-GRO or schedule a visit to learn more about our curriculum.