Being well-versed in more than one language is beneficial when it comes to performing well in academics, in the workforce or day to day life. In Singapore, students are mandated to take up Mother Tongue language classes (Mandarin, Malay, or Tamil) in primary and secondary school, which means that most Singaporeans are more than capable of speaking or understanding at least two languages efficiently by the time they are at the age of 16. If you are planning to live in Singapore for the long term, why not consider letting your child take up a new language as well?
It is never too early to begin learning a language. Read on to learn more about the many benefits that come along with the additional skill!
1. New Languages are Best Learned at a Young Age
Children have the ability to take up new languages at a much faster pace than adults. Their language-learning ability will slow down significantly as they mature – the earlier they start, the better. Research has shown that children who learn another language before the age of five use the same part of their brain that they used to learn their mother tongue, to acquire the new language.
When children start learning at a younger age, they are uninhibited by the fear of making mistakes, which makes correcting mistakes easier. They are also able to devote a longer amount of time to learning the new language, forming deeper connections as they mature. The longer time they devote to learning the language, the better their cognitive development and the younger they start learning an additional language, the more languages they can master eventually.
2. Bilingual Children Perform Better
Studies have shown that even babies that are less than a year old who are exposed to multiple languages have different cognitive patterns compared to monolinguals. They are better at multitasking and have a better attention span.
Research has also shown that children perform better at tests the longer they study a foreign language. Their critical thinking skills greatly improve and their literary skills are enhanced. Children who learn a foreign language have greater mastery of their native language, start reading earlier and are better at linguistic subjects in general.
Furthermore, it also boosts their brainpower with regard to creativity and imagination. Learning a second language expands their brain to other grammatical structures, vocabulary, and pronunciation. This especially will benefit children who are interested or talented in the arts.
3. It Boosts Cross-cultural Understanding
Understanding of other cultures can also be learnt from a young age. Language and culture are closely intertwined – learning a foreign language will increase your kids’ understanding of cultures different from their own, which allows for more empathy for others. They will be able to develop a newfound appreciation for the world around them and form a deeper connection with people.
Knowing more than one language also opens the door to better career opportunities in the future, especially in Singapore. Employers find bilingual candidates to have an edge and view them as having a skill that would render them invaluable to the company.
Convinced that your kids should learn a new language yet? Here at the School of Language International (SLI), a wide variety of Mandarin classes are available for your curious children. Expat parents, take this opportunity to enrol your children at SLI and allow them to embark on an amazing journey of acquiring a new language to wow their peers, and locals.