Why learn a language at a young age?
Due to the process of Natural Assimilation, a great time to begin learning is when a child is young. Our methodology is focused and designed for children 2 - 8 years old, a phase known as “the phase of the Absorbent Mind” by Maria Montessori.
The first Plane of Development starts at birth and goes on until the child is about 6 years old, and is characterized by the “absorbent mind” of the child, which takes (or “absorbs”) all the good and bad aspects of their surroundings, language and culture. As opposed to adults, who acquire knowledge through intelligence, the absorbent mind of the child lets them learn even when they don’t have the necessary will for it (unconsciously). Given that this is the phase when language is acquired, it is essential that we begin teaching a second language to young children.
“Synaptic Pruning” is another cognitive process that occurs at the end of this phase for learners from 6 - 8 years of age. Synaptic Pruning, which that takes place in the brain, is the process of synapse elimination. This process aims to eliminate the neural connections that are not frequently used to ensure that our brain capacity is available to make connections that are used more frequently. Thus, if children younger than 6 years old only use their brain for one language, they will lose neural connections for a second language. This is why when they try to learn it later on; they have to reactivate these connections. This is why adults learn a second language more slowly and in a less efficient way.
At Lingokids we base our methodology in the natural assimilation process of the mother tongue, a process that occurs in a natural and spontaneous order.
What are the benefits of bilingualism?
Learning a second language opens the door to a world that values bilingualism. Children who become competent in a second language are better prepared to be global citizens. Research shows that language learners are generally more focused, flexible, and skilled at retention of content. There is no minimum age to begin learning a language. According to scientific evidence, the sooner a child is exposed to a new language, the better. Exposure to a foreign language in infancy will help the child learn to speak a second language, and with a more natural accent.
Studies have revealed that bilingual children have better concentration, and that bilingualism can even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Dr. José Antonio Portellano, a neuropsychologist at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, affirms the importance of early foreign language exposure through his metaphor of a blank diary. If we wait to write the pages of bilingualism, the diary fills up and we are left to scribble in the margins.
Bilingual immersion can never come too early. Bilingual education needs to include multiple elements of support and reinforcement; watching cartoons in English isn’t enough. What is most important is that a child’s exposure to a new language integrates with the child’s natural behavior.
By introducing English to children at home through songs, stories, and games as the Lingokids method does, the language does not become attached to a “foreign” concept, rather a natural part of life.
I’m ready to try Lingokids!
Lingokids is a great way to start your child’s bilingual journey! To get started, you can sign up here. We can’t wait for your family to begin learning with us!