Teaching Your Toddler a Foreign Language Can Lead to Better Career Prospects in Adulthood
Parents in the know have been enrolling their toddlers in early childhood education foreign language classes for years. And with good reason: studies have shown that merely thinking in a foreign language can help make decisions less biased and more rational down the road. In short, learning a foreign language can help your child have a brighter, more informed, educated adulthood that can set them up for promising career prospects later in life.
Young Children Have More Success
Starting foreign language study during early childhood education (before ages 12 or 13) provides benefits, as well, since this is the time when all of your child’s language acquisition windows are wide open. In fact, earlier is better, since children who learn two languages at the same time usually sound native in both languages. A study led by Laura-Ann Petitto, PhD, cognitive neuroscientist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, followed groups of young children at 2-3 years, 4-6 years, and 7-9 years.
The younger children did better in the long run, contradicting previous advice that early childhood education should only involve learning one language to avoid confusing the child.
Why Languages Are Best?
These days, preschool classrooms and daycare centers are often multi-culturally diverse learning centers. In progressive classrooms, young children can be found speaking languages from a variety of tongues, often the result of familial heritage. Some languages may, however, provide more life benefits down the road than others.
Spanish speakers represent a huge part of the population in the US. During early childhood education, Spanish is one of the easiest languages for your English-speaking child to learn. It is mostly phonetic, meaning the way a word is pronounced and the way it is written are the same. Spanish is also an excellent “base” second language, as it can provide a promising foundation for learning more languages down the road.
American Sign Language for Babies
Visual languages are potentially easier for kids to learn during early childhood education, and ASL can open doors to advanced non-verbal communication skills. Baby sign language leads to early advancements in cognitive development.
With China being the fastest growing economy in the world, employers now and in the future will likely be searching for employees who can speak Mandarin for business purposes.
Another language popular for conducting foreign business or travel is French. It is also considered the language of the arts, which when introduced during early childhood education can provide an excellent base for a more astute appreciation of culture in the long run.
As a close sister to ancient Latin, the educational and etymological benefits to learning Italian are many. Because English is a Latin-based language, studying Italian can be a major advantage in college preparation for your child in the future with tests such as the SAT and ACT.