You’re in Paris, struggling to decipher if ‘poisson’ is something you should eat or something that you should avoid at all costs (it’s delicious by the way). Beyond the obvious benefit of being able to communicate in a foreign land, mastering a new language can provide more paybacks than you might first realise. Interestingly, the younger a child is when they learn a new language, the greater the benefits.
Here we give you the top five reasons why primary school children should learn a new language:
1. Expanded world view
Learning a new language makes your child aware that their own language is not the only language and there is more than one way to interact with people. They develop an understanding and respect of other cultures.
2. Improved literacy
When your child learns a new language they must not only speak in a new way, they must also learn to listen, read, write and even think in a new way. Learning a new language has been shown to have a positive influence on a child’s first language literacy skills, improving vocabulary and language skills.
3. Converse like a native
When your child learns a new language from a young age, they grow up with a better chance of speaking it without their first language accent because their oral skills are easily shaped and they mimic sounds they hear very well. They are less likely to be self-consciousness about learning and attempting to speak a new language. With practice and exposure the language becomes second nature and children can switch from one language to another relatively easily.
4. Cognitive development
Learning a second language is one of the most effective ways of improving cognitive performance. Studies have shown that children who learn other languages achieve consistently better results in school across all subjects, including subjects where there appear to be no obvious links, such as Maths, Music and Science. Learning a language can improve memory, perception, reasoning, higher-order thinking and problem-solving.
5. Improved wellbeing
If your child can speak more than one language, there is a good chance that they will feel more confident and have high self-esteem, partly because language skills are held in high regard by society. As children achieve new levels of competence in the new language they will enjoy a sense of achievement giving their morale a critical boost. Children are more likely to make friends in different cultural groups, expanding their circle of friendship, also boosting self-esteem.
At Trinity Grammar School, our boys learn a second language from Pre-Kindergarten. To find out more about our commitment to academic excellence and how the Trinity difference helps our boys to realise their potential, passions and purpose in life, download our prospectus.