The traditional view of imposing language learning on children is that the two languages would interfere with each other and slow literacy learning. There is some evidence that learning two languages in early education does impose additional stressors on the brain.
- New evidence suggests that this stress actually improves mental ability.
- The demand forces the brain to solve some fundamental learning problems which monolingual children never have to face.
The key difference between monolingual and bilingual children goes beyond the ability to control the suppression of one language and select the other language at will.
- It seems to be about improvements in ability to monitor surroundings and sensitivity to the environment.
- New studies indicate that the multilingual exposure is manifest in improved social skills in children.
These particular cognitive abilities, are improved through multilingual education:
- The ability to monitor the environment is especially important for social interaction.
- Children who have learned how to select among learned languages are better at considering the point of view of others.
This is a critical developmental faculty that the pioneering developmental psychologist Jean Piaget called “decentering.”
- Children in multilingual environments have ample practice considering the point of view of others.
- They are also more aware that there is more than one point of view.
Children who learn more than one language are often raised in environments surrounded by multiple languages and cultures.
- They learn early how to see the world through widely varied eyes, a range of different perspectives.
- They learn to account for other perspectives in their communication and their attitude development.
- Not only do they become more decentered (in Piaget’s terms) but they become less “egocentric” as well.
At Little Pim, we believe that all children deserve to learn a second language. We use a natural immersive method of teaching. Please contact us to learn more.