Undertaking the learning of a foreign language is a daunting task: it often starts out of a newly born passion for the language, a country, a culture or the people. All of us who have been learning a foreign language know that it is the learning process of a lifetime and that it never comes to an end, unless you settle for less than perfect. Soon after starting, you will wonder why you began learning so late. When is a good time to start learning a second language?
I would suggest the earlier, the better. In most education system, the learning of a second language is at the earliest when children turn ten. Not that this is too late, but an immersion in the language at a prior stage would make it significantly easier for the children to learn a second language, its vocabulary, its grammar and the mechanics of the syntax. While all these might seem technical and overwhelming for young children, it does not actually need to be. Children have a spontaneous inclination to language and are free, or at least a lot freer, than all these barriers we set up as adults against mistakes that impede the speed of learning.
Does it have negative effects?
As humans have a natural feeling for languages, children exposed to bilingualism at an early age will develop the skills they need to handle two or more languages as they grow up. Granted, there is a chance that the two languages learned have blurry frontiers and that the child needs some time to distinguish what words belong to what language. However, in the long run, the benefits are numerous. Studies have shown that bilingual children are more likely to be successful at school. As young adults, candidates with languages skills have a distinct advantage over candidates without or poor language knowledge.
From a medical perspective, the regular use of two or more languages
was demonstrated to have positive effects on the brains and decrease the risks of dementia and other neurological diseases.
So whether it is because of your love for French cuisine, your passion for Italian art or your interest in Greek mythology, start learning now and help your children embrace the rewarding feelings of learning a language.
Take a look at what can be done in a French kindergarten. A native French teacher shares her resources: Crafts, Math, Graphics, Reading, Sport with children age 3 to 6. You can find many topics: Christmas, Colors, Alphabets, Dinosaurs, Food, Castles, Halloween….