Language Play - French and Spanish classes for children in South Bucks and West Herts

What are the benefits of early language learning? 

Research has shown that there are many advantages in learning a foreign language at an early age. Here are just a few of the most notable benefits:

Much easier before the age of seven: Young children do not experience the inhibition barriers that are common when learning a foreign language in adulthood. Their ability and willingness to mimic is second to none and this maximises the development of a good accent in a foreign language. Children's ears are very attuned to picking up and imitating tricky sounds and they are very sensitive to language nuances in tone. Language learning is at its most rapid in what Jean Piaget defines as "the pre-operational stage" which is the child development stage from 2 to 6 years of age.  

Highest test scores: Numerous reports have proven that students who have studied a foreign language perform much better than their monolingual peers on many standardised tests. As the Lord Dearing Report showed in 2007, there is a significant advantage in terms of GCSE achievement for pupils who have studied more than one language.

Increased confidence and self-esteem: The feeling of accomplishment that comes with being able to communicate in a second language is unique and thrilling. A research report from the UK Department of Education and Skills stated that evidence suggests that learning a second language in primary school "develops self-confidence, enthusiasm, curiosity for languages and an openness...".

Improved cognitive skills: Researchers have discovered that being exposed to more than one language gives a child's brain a great work-out as "the mind is much more like a muscle than we've ever realised..." and that "the cognitive skills that seems to be most enhanced by learning a second language is critical thinking or problem solving," as reported by the National Network for Early Language Learning.

Improved literacy skills: As Nancy Rhodes, Director of Foreign Language Education at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC says: "The more children learn about a foreign language, the more they understand about their own language." This can lead to a larger, richer vocabulary and a better understanding of the grammatical rules and contructions in their own language.

Broader worldview: Travelling abroad is a fun experience for everyone and very common these days, but being at ease in the language of your destination and being able to communicate in that language will enrich the experience to a new level - a level where one can feel part of a new culture and experience the life of this new world. Having this type of experience from a young age opens a young mind to new prospectives and possibilities - life long term benefits that go well beyond the acquisition of linguistic skills.   

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