Children learning: hidden benefits of a second language

Should children learn a second language?

Learning a second language might be good to enhance a person’s career prospect and often comes in handy when you go on holiday. However, there are deeper reasons and benefits for offering your child the chance to learn a second language.

Interestingly enough, a second language will actually boost their abilities in their native language and will generally boost their school performance. In fact, studies suggest that children with a second language are more creative, develop more critical thinking, the flexibility of the mind and have a better memory.

But there is more: learning a second language gives people the ability to access and understand another culture. They acquire respect for other cultures, for people and their ways of thinking. This develops their empathy for others. Their curiosity and interest for the different and as a consequence, they are more open to new ideas as well.

Should children learn a second language? The benefits are great, however, any learning that children undertake is also an effort for the child and a commitment from the parents.

You will often hear people saying that children are like sponges. In a way this is true. It has been proven that children’s brains are designed to absorb information and particularly languages. Also, unlike teenagers and adults, they have a natural ability to recognise and reproduce new sounds. This is why small children can speak without a first language accent. However, we need to recognise that learning is an effort for the children and that they need to be well supported in their endeavour. Learning a language takes time and it is a commitment for both children and parents.

Having said that, the benefits are far-reaching and will enhance a child’s ability in many different ways. Second or more languages will give children even better chances of developing into well-rounded individuals and the earlier they start the better it is.
At Parla Italiano we offer Italian courses for children, please check our children’s classes schedule.

Laura Scaramella, Tel: 07941 092593

Written for Edmonton Green Magazine, November 2017