Learning a language is a wonderful opportunity for kids to broaden their view of the world, Australia’s place in the world, and the many communities living here.
It means understanding and learning to speak, read, write, listen and think in another way, and to explore and appreciate the wealth of knowledge that is part of each language and its culture.
Advantages of your child learning another language
- Communication: your child learns to communicate in the language and develops an understanding that there is more than one way to interact with people.
- Academic: your child learns about how languages work and their literacy skills are enhanced because a clear link exists between learning another language and literacy development in English.
- Critical thinking: your child’s analytical skills are increased along with their ability to transfer skills across languages.
- Cognitive: your child’s problem-solving skills are enhanced along with thinking laterally and working collaboratively.
- Personal: your child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, resilience and tolerance are increased.
- Cultural: your child develops an understanding and respect for other cultures, people, their ideas and ways of thinking.
- Vocational: your child’s career opportunities will be greater in an increasingly globalised market.
- Social: your child’s global connections are enriched.
What age should my child start learning a new language?
While it doesn’t matter when your child begins to study another language, it’s best to start them as young as possible. Why?
- Young children have the ability to learn a new language without their first-language accent.
- Their oral skills are easily developed.
- They tend to be happy to experiment with the new language and its words.
- They’re generally confident to practise the language with other people
Learning languages takes time
Learning a new language is a commitment for children and their parents because it takes a long time to become proficient. Knowledge and skills are built up over time and the more time your child spends using the language, the better they’ll be at it.
This article has been used with permission from www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au