Learning a second language

Posted 9th June, 2018

Learning a second language before you even start school may seem like a lot to ask a child.

But long gone are the days when pupils were just taught some basic French phrases at secondary school – now an increasing amount of research shows the younger the better when it comes to language acquisition.

That’s why all our little ones have a visit from Lingotot once a week to begin exploring either the French or Spanish language.

It’s all done in a very relaxed way, through songs and roleplay – they definitely don’t get drilled on verb tenses or quizzed about how much they can recall.

But we find that over time, the children do retain a lot of the words and are able to tell others what they’ve learned.

Having a grasp on the basics at a young age can be very useful: it’s known that those who pick up a second language before their teenage years are more like to achieve native-like pronunciation when they’re older.

And of course we know now that having a second or even third language on their CV once they leave school will benefit the next generation hugely, as businesses now often compete in a global market.

But that all seems a way off, and actually the benefits begin much earlier than that. Studies by experts such as Harvard University have shown critical thinking skills, creativity and flexibility of the mind are all improved by learning additional languages.

Those learning second languages outscore others in verbal and maths tests – which shouldn’t come as a massive surprise because the brain is a muscle and it responds to being exercised.

And the sooner this process starts, the more ‘brain exercise’ they’re getting – without even realising it. Your child will have learned English (or whichever language they speak at home) by mimicking the sounds you make and eventually learning to associate those sounds with words and meanings.

They’ll do exactly the same as they start to pick up a second language – and at their young age they have no idea how incredible it is to be able to do that. They’re simply having fun singing Les Roues De L’Autobus (Wheels on the Bus) or pretending to eat le déjeuner (lunch) with their friends.