Early childhood is the best time for foreign language acquisition. Between birth and adolescence the brain is hard-wired to acquire languages naturally. As a result, children build a second language system alongside, not through, the first language. They absorb the sounds, structures, intonation patterns and rules of a second language naturally, as they did when they learned their mother tongue. Children who learn a language young easily develop a native-like fluency and flawless accent.
Learning a foreign language at a young age, when the acquisition for language is at its peak, can present many benefits and opportunities:
ADVANCED COGNITIVE SKILLS
Children who learn a second language young show improved overall school performance, superior problem-solving skills, stronger overall communication skills, enhanced spatial relations and heightened creativity. Learning a foreign language also encourages flexible thinking, helping children consider issues from more than one perspective.
HIGHER TEST SCORES
Students of foreign languages score statistically higher on standardized tests conducted in English. A number of reports have demonstrated that children who have learned a second language earn higher SAT scores in English and Mathematics than students who have not.
INCREASED UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR OWN LANGUAGE
The more children learn about a foreign language the more they understand their own language. Children can learn much about English by learning the structure of other languages. Students can reflect on their own language's sentence structure and compare and contrast. Common vocabulary also helps children learn the meaning of new words in English.
Children feel good about having a new skill that most of their peers and sometimes even their parents and closest relatives do not master.
Ability to communicate with more people
Deeper understanding and appreciation of their own and other cultures
Competitive advantage in the work force and access to a greater number of career possibilities
Ability to learn additional languages more easily