There are many added benefits to children learning multiple languages
Language is arguably the most basic and universal form of self expression, and allows us as humans to both communicate our feelings and form bonds with others. Speaking any language instantly expands one’s world, but speaking multiple languages stretches the edges of that world out even farther, incorporating new lands once perceived as foreign.
Children have a natural ability to pick up languages. Oftentimes, one will hear adults say that they regret not learning a foreign language as a child since they find the process more difficult once they are grown. The basis of this regret comes from the idea that by not speaking a second language, one is missing out on various opportunities. Having personally grown up speaking both English and French, I have found that knowledge of various languages does in fact aid in the expansion of, and, perhaps, enrichment of one’s life in the following ways.
The benefits of learning another language:
First, languages break down barriers and lead to friendships. While it is entirely possible for two people to still be friends even if they do not speak the same language, the chances for a successful friendship are undoubtedly increased when a language is shared. By speaking more than one language, one’s chances for friendship are increased. Imagine if someone spoke every language that exists. Theoretically, they would have the possibility of friendship available with everyone on earth! On a more realistic scale, speaking another language may allow a child to have more friends within their classroom early on in their school careers.
The other main benefit to speaking multiple languages is the fact that it enhances travel and cultural awareness. Travel, as Mark Twain said, “is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Travel by itself can greatly increase one’s acceptance of various cultures, but traveling to a country where one can directly communicate with the locals takes it to the next level. Not only can you meet strangers, but you can also interact with and learn about them in a much more personal and connected way. Speaking a different language allows for the possibility of cultural comprehension while traveling that one might not necessarily have otherwise. As a multilingual tourist, one can read the descriptions of the national monuments and treasures in that country’s own native words and dialect, listen to music for not just the melody, but also the lyrical poetry, and can discover an overall sense of unity rather than difference.
Finally, speaking multiple languages can lead to increased opportunities later in life. Already speaking a second language upon entering college can exempt one from the language class requirement that some schools have, and by bypassing this, that time can be spent taking courses more closely related to one’s major. Additionally, languages are also valued when it comes to finding a job. By speaking another language, a candidate can gain an edge over other candidates, especially if a language is required or desired for the role in question.
The benefits of speaking multiple languages are endless, but the greatest underlying reason is that languages increase understanding amongst individuals and aid in the acceptance of differences – culturally and beyond.
At Apple Montessori Schools, we present our students with this advantage by offering curriculum on second languages. Children in our schools represent a wide range of cultures and many speak a second or third language. In fact, children in our schools speak over 150 different languages. To learn more about our language arts and foreign language curriculum, please visit our website: https://www.applemontessorischools.com/.
-Guest blogger Ashley Naporano