You have all likely heard the song “Despacito” (lyric video below) recently, whether you know it or not, as it has been played on every radio station. Justin Bieber’s feature has helped the Spanish song rise to the top of the charts. Fascinatingly, a 2015 census confirmed that in certain Miami communities up to 90% of the population speaks Spanish, and 2016 data notes that nearly 70% of the county is Hispanic. Moreover, in 2015, half of New Yorkers were recorded to speak a language besides English at home. The success of the song coupled with these statistics demonstrate how culturally integrated our society has become. Whether or not you currently live in an urban metropolis, like Miami or New York, where cross-cultural interaction is extremely frequent, teaching your child foreign languages at a young age is not only fun but prepares them to thrive in an increasingly globalized world.
Knowing more than one language, which can start with learning a simple song, opens doors for your children in the classroom and in the workplace.
Let’s talk about some more boring statistics so that I can show you the value of turning on a song in a foreign language. Only 1.5% of the students enrolled in higher education in the 2014-2015 school year studied abroad. Each of these students, by immersing themselves in a different culture, often speaking a different language, propelled personal and future professional growth. The ability to recognize and appreciate cultural differences via an immersive experience motivates a certain respect that is often lacking among individuals in such a polarized political and social climate in the US. Additionally, the fluency in a language and understanding of cultural norms and traditions of a country brought about by a study-abroad also make an individual a greater asset to potential employers, as 95% of consumers across the globe live outside of the US. 95%! Learning the language of that culture prior to visiting maximizes the power of this experience to spur development. Afford your child the same personal and professional benefits as this mere 1.5% of students by teaching them a foreign language and exposing them to a different culture.
After being exposed to data that connotes language learning’s capacity to permit personal and professional growth, a parent is saddled with the question: how do I get my child excited about language learning?
You have likely subconsciously heard the answer to this question in listening to songs like “Despacito.” Kids respond very positively to music, and there are countless simple songs that can provide a perfect introduction to a foreign language. Little Pim, as a company dedicated to making language-learning fun and accessible, has compiled some of these songs into Spanish and French CD’s for kids. As the heat waves roll in and you and your family begin planning summer road trips or weekend getaways, these CD’s are the perfect in-car activity. If you are a bilingual family, you may be able to immediately pick up the lyrics and sing along with the CD as your child learns. If you are learning alongside your child, it can be a beautiful bonding experience.
Language learning doesn’t have to be extremely serious or scary. It can start with a single CD and turn into a worthwhile investment in your child’s future.