The benefits of learning a second language

Here at Play Learn Grow we embrace biculturalism, multiculturalism and diversity at our centre.  There are so many ethnicities found in our suburb of Kelston, it provides a wonderful opportunity for our tamariki to learn about them. Language is often the best place to start.

We are so proud to have staff and children from many different cultures and that speak more than one language (Te Reo, Samoan, Tongan, Chinese, Hindi, Fijian, Russian – just to name a few!). 

We incorporate Te Reo into our daily life at Play Learn Grow and our children love it, especially the singing.  There are so many benefits to introducing our children to different languages and cultures.

And it is never too early to begin learning a language: it’s fun, it promotes healthy development, and the many cognitive and social benefits will last a lifetime.

As a parent, you do not need to know a second language yourself, there are so many online resources to help you.

Here is a helpful link for te reo for example:

Write out simple words, post them around the house and use them when communicating with your child.   Learn a few expressions yourself and use them in everyday life at home.  Remember singing is a great way too to teach our children, so google the most popular toddler songs in the language of your choice.  You should find yourself some great catchy examples, even some well-known English songs that have been translated into other languages. 

Here are just some of the reasons why learning a language puts your child at a significant advantage:

1)It gives them a head start

Children who are exposed to another language before age five use the same part of the brain to acquire that second language that they use to learn their mother tongue. Younger learners are also uninhibited by the fear of making mistakes, which is sometimes an obstacle for older beginners.

2)The earlier they start, the longer they stay!

The length of time a student is able to devote to learning a language has a direct and positive correlation to cognitive development. Longer sequences also provide the opportunity for learners to grow alongside the additional language and culture, developing a deeper connection as they mature.

3)Feed Their Brains

Research shows that learning a second language boosts problem-solving, critical-thinking, and listening skills, in addition to improving memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask. Children proficient in other languages also show signs of enhanced creativity and mental flexibility.

4) Boost Their Academic Achievement

The cognitive benefits of learning a language have a direct impact on a child’s academic achievement. Compared to those without an additional language, bilingual children have improved reading, writing, and math skills, and they generally score higher on standardized tests.

5) Nurture Their Curiosity, Cultural Sensitivity, Empathy, and Tolerance

Children who are exposed early to other languages display more positive attitudes to the cultures associated with those languages. The experience of learning a language introduces them to the world in ways they might otherwise have not experienced.

6) Don’t Hesitate: Go for Two… or Three

Surprisingly, young children are not confused by the introduction of multiple languages at the same time. Not only do they naturally navigate multilingual environments, but acquiring a second language early in life primes the brain to learn multiple other languages, opening a world of opportunities for later on.