Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Importance of Bilingual Learning In Early Childhood Education

Submitted by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062) on behalf of Primrose Schools: The Leader in Educational Child Care.

When looking at recent trends in the job market, it is becoming quite clear that competition for spots that pay well above the average will continue to escalate as more people enter the labor force. Although the laws of supply and demand still ultimately drive this process, people are still trying to regulate this method to give everyone an equal chance. While this is laudable to a point, the very best preparation for any child to have is a good education. This can increase his/her chances significantly when hunting for a high paying job.

Bilingual Trends In The Future.

According to most studies, the society of the future will continue to diversify itself. Global trends continue to tick upward and there is no place more evident of this phenomenon than the United States of America. This country was founded on the basic principles of giving everyone an equal chance. Often referred to as a melting pot, immigrants have been forced to learn the language of the country -- English. This is not quite true in the largest cities though. Various segments of the population are growing quite rapidly and these include native speakers of Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese and Spanish. They represent a large chunk of the current wave of immigrants.

English has been the standard when doing business -- even on the international scale, but as China continues to show its industrial might, there is a current movement towards learning Mandarin as well.

Preparing Students For The Future.

Standard educational practices in the past have promoted the study of another language as early as middle school. Further research in this area has demonstrated children can absorb this teaching at early childhood centers. It is during the preschool years that learning another language is actually optimal. Children are more able to pick up multilingual teaching at this time. This is mainly due to the development of the brain. Although people have learned two or even three languages later in life, the neurological development during the early years makes it the best time to pick up another countries language. This has been demonstrated quite succinctly by Dr. Fred Genessee who has studies this practice at McGill University in Montreal Canada. He has found that children can pick up two or three languages as well as one. This postulate has actually been understood for several decades and is shown to be quite true in countries that have more than one official language.

When totally immersed in the proper environment, a child can quickly learn a second tongue. Even television shows have promoted this theory as Bart Simpson learns French when he is stuck there and forced to adapt to the native customs and cultures. Although this was only a television episode, the real fact is that young children who were placed with relatives in another country picked up on the native language rather quickly.

A good preschool program will offer this kind of immersion will allow your child the best opportunity to get started on a multilingual course. This small investment will only prepare him/her for a better job as the market becomes even more competitive. 

Disclosure: I received monetary compensation in return for posting this information. I only post relevant information that I feel may benefit my readers.


17sirens said...

A lot of schools in my district actually being teaching children a second language as early as the 6th grade! I think this is so beneficial to them for their future.

In my household, we incorporate a second language as the babies grow. So my niece and nephew who are about 1 1/2 and 3 years old already know a lot of Arabic words.

BethElderton said...

I worked for many years as a teacher in a Montessori Primary classroom (3-6 YO.) The school also had baby and toddler rooms. We (I worked with a co-teacher) averaged about thirty kids per school year in our classroom and, being an international school, usually had about a dozen kids who did not speak English at all. We had kids whose native languages were from all over the world--Russian, Chinese, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lebanese, Syrian ...everywhere. Our advice to parents was to speak their mother language at home even if the parents knew English (many were learning themselves, but some were fluent in English) and we spoke English at school, the children learned both--fluently. In one case, a set of twins had Dad speaking Arabic at home, Mom speaking French, and us speaking English at school. The kids learned all three...fluently (complete with Texas accents for the English LOL).

NOTE: Children learning more than one language at this age (0-6 years)may experience delays in speech. This is OKAY! When they DO speak, it will be in both languages...fluently...complete with accents.