Saturday, November 19, 2011

Teach them to be Bilingual at a Young Age - Guest Post From Primrose Schools

Hubby and I have had several conversations about starting to teach little man another language. He loves learning new words and he is really a wonderful little conversationalist for a 2 year old! Hubby and I both think that an early introduction to a foreign language would help him be able to have an ear for accents and pick up new words more easily as he grows up. We love traveling and have been to Europe a few times, including a trip that we took with my family before little man was born! Hubby and I would absolutely love to travel back to Europe and bring little man for his first tour of Europe! It would be such a wonderful experience for little man if he could understand a few words of French or order his pasta in Italian!
Kathleen, from Primrose Schools, reached out to me about doing a guest post about the importance of teaching little ones a second language.  I couldn’t have been happier because it is definitely something that hubby and I are interested in and eager to introduce to little man.  I would like to thank Kathleen for the post and her insight!

Teach them to be Bilingual at a Young Age
Article submitted by Kathleen Thomas on behalf of Primrose Schools

These days steady employment has become scarce as companies downsize and ship jobs overseas. Furthermore, the development of the global economy will lead to even fiercer competition for higher tier employment in the near future. In order to ensure your child has the ability to compete and have a chance for interdependence, it is essential that they have a strong educational background that will increase their opportunity. However, in addition to a general education, it is also important that your child develop a unique skill attractive to employers. Although it is impossible to foresee what your child will be adept at, one particular skill that is universally desired and can be taught at a young age is a second language.

A Bilingual World
As the world shrinks and global interaction becomes more common, it becomes imperative to have people capable of interpreting data, conversation, and ideas involving foreign languages. This is no more indicative than in the United States, where immigrants from a variety of backgrounds interact in a diverse and thriving culture. In fact, most urban centers have become a cultural chessboard, with areas so influenced by their ancestral heritage that English is a second language. For speakers of multiple languages, this provides an employment opportunity not only in these regions but with outside services who count these neighborhoods among their patrons.

Being bilingual not only provides an advantage domestically, but also may become essential in when dealing with global clients. As countries like China and Japan become more dominant player in the business world, it is plausible that another language may usurp English as the primary method of communication. If nothing else, the ability to converse in a client's native language can make a strong impression and build good relationships with foreign business. Other highly sought after languages such as Arabic can contribute greatly to American interests.

Conventional wisdom states that children should reach middle school before being taught a second language. However, recent studies have shown that starting at an earlier stage can have far more effective results. Most experts now agree that the preschool years are the optimal period for a multilingual education. Research demonstrates that early childhood is when the brain is most pliable and capable of grasping the fundamental concepts used in language.

While learning two languages at once may sound confusing, according to professors at McGill University in Montreal, it is equally as simple for young children to learn multiple languages as it is to learn one. Countries whose residents speak multiple languages have practiced this strategy for centuries, usually by exposing the child to a completely immersive environment. This can also be observed in children who have visited relatives abroad for an extended period of time.

Consequently, it is important for parents to enroll their child in an educational preschool program that offers total immersion in a language other than English. By developing their bilingual capabilities at a young age, they will be far more capable of reaching fluency as an adult. This simple effort will bloom into a favorable investment not only for their prospective job opportunities but their appreciation of international cultures as well.

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