More families, schools, and businesses are seeing the benefits of knowing multiple languages and how teaching children a second language can help them thrive in life. According to an article from We Have Kids, the 2010 Census found that over 350 languages are spoken in households across the US, exposing children to different languages on a daily basis.
Even though many people know the benefits of being bilingual, less than about 30 percent of the US population fluently speaks a second language. This is a rough estimate, because according to New York Times, the Census does not actually ask whether or not people are bilingual, rather it asks if another language is spoken in the home.
The languages spoken at home can help kids to become fluent in two languages. Research has shown that exposing children to a second language early on can help them to learn and mimic the different sounds and be able to distinguish between the different phonemes, which are units of sound, according to Noodle.com.
Teaching your child a second language may be difficult, especially if you do not speak the language yourself. But exposing them to these languages can help them to learn these languages. At Montessori School of Chantilly, your child will take part in Spanish and French classes, allowing them to, at the very least, begin to gain an understanding of different languages. But exposing your children to a different language at home can help them to actually learn this language.
In a previous blog, we discussed the unique classes your child will participate in at our school, including French and Spanish classes. There are many benefits of being fluent in two languages. These benefits include cognitive, emotional, and social development, educational advantages, cultural advantages, and so many more.
While the benefits may be endless, we are going to go over effective ways to teach your child a second language.
Get An Early Start
A CNN article states that Laura L. Namy, a Emory University psychology professor, says that children should be exposed to two languages, as much as possible, after birth. Ideally, one parent will speak one language constantly and the other parent will speak the second language.
A common concern among parents teaching their children a second language is that they will get confused and not be able to distinguish one language from another. According to Namy in the CNN article, a child can start learning the sounds of their mom’s native language in the womb and after birth, they are able to tell the difference between that language and others.
An article from Parents states that an infant is born with the ability to mimic the sounds of different languages, but after about 10 months, they lose this ability. This means that exposing your newborn to a different language can help them to learn the sounds of a different language and understand it better.
Speak It At Home
If you want your child to learn a second language, one of the best ways to help teach them is to speak it in your home. Parents who are bilingual can easily help their children learn another language by speaking it regularly. A child learns English by hearing it everywhere. While the technical rules for a language are generally learned later in life, hearing different languages can help them to learn those languages. If you are trying to teach your child a second language, expose them to it.
This could also mean hiring a bilingual babysitter and asking them to speak to your children in the second language. Have them watch shows that incorporate second languages. Introduce your children to books, music, movies, and other material that use the language you are trying to teach them.
One great way to teach your child the name of different object and items throughout the home is to label them. This goes for any language, even if your child is learning English. Label the items in your home with both English and the second language, allowing you child to learn the item in both languages.
Enroll Them In Classes
While signing your four-year-old up for a foreign language class may seem a little excessive, it can help them to learn the language even better. You could even find a class that you can attend too and learn the language with your child.
Another option is to enroll your child at Montessori School of Chantilly. We offer enrichment classes, allowing your children to expand their knowledge with classes that are not the usual curriculum. At our school, your children will learn Spanish and French, helping them to develop an understanding of new languages.