Why is learning foreign languages important at a young age? Contact with new sound schemata exercises the children’s conscious acoustic comprehension and helps them improve their attention in their own language. This prepares them for understanding oral speech later at school. “Second-language acquisition at a young age is the best medicine for the children’s brain”, according to Barbara Lust, a developmental psychologist and linguist, Professor at the University of Cornell, in the Institute of Social and Economic Research. It does not cause confusion or hindrance to the linguistic or cognitive development of the children. On the contrary, studies have shown that the children who are learning a foreign language can concentrate better than the children who only know one language and they exhibit more cognitive advantages. The earlier a child comes into contact with a foreign language, the more likely they are to become competent at it. Learning must take place in an environment where the children listen and experience the language in a pleasant and effortless way, like for example in “immersion programs”.
Is there a hindrance to the native language with the acquisition of a second? There is no theory to prove that there is developmental delay to children who comprehend or learn a second language at a young age. On the contrary, it has been proven that learning languages at a young age reinforces sensitivity to the sounds and rhythm of a language.
What is the impact of learning a second language on a daily basis at preschool education on the child’s identity? The children who learn two languages and learn to think in two languages experience multiplicity and stop being slaves of a monolithic identity. Learning languages at a young age molds people with roots like all the others but, simultaneously, they become aware of the fact that their roots are not the only ones and that every person has their own roots. At Play & Learn we advocate the diversity of the children & their families and their multi-culturalism.
4. How does a child benefit from the acquisition of a second language at a preschool age? Learning languages at a young age not only broadens the children’s minds but also absolves from the fear caused by foreign languages and the difficulties associated with their acquisition. Children develop their ability to adjust to culturally unfamiliar circumstances. Even when the children do not continue to learn the same language later at school, the hard efforts they made when starting to learn languages at the preschool age will forever be useful to them.
What is the enrollment procedure? We have chosen for Play & Learn to be a small, family school with small classes. This means that we do not have a place for all the families that would like to be part of Play & Learn. The children who start in the Preschool class form the basis that will go into Kindergarten. The children who start at the Foreign Language Centre continue with us until they reach C2 level and obtain their certificate. We do accept newcomers based on the date of our first communication with the family.
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