Saturday, September 1, 2012

Teaching Your Children a Second Language is Vital!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands,
that goes to his head.

If you talk to him in his language,
that goes to his heart.
(Nelson Mandela)

Is it really important for our children to learn a second language? Why not wait until they are older... you know... High School level... Besides, if they learn a language now, they are going to have to learn a third language in High School since it is required by law in our state that each child have a high school level class in foreign languages in graduate!

We start our children out young. From birth they start learning sign language, and now, at 1, 4, and 6, we are learning Spanish. This is Sierra's (6) second year of Spanish. Why?

Children are able to learn a new language a lot easier if they learn it before they reach adolescence. At these young ages, their brain is still developing, and the language "department" of their brain is still accepting new words and phrases as their "first language". Before adolescence, children learn second languages at an alarming rate and retain it better, because their brain sees it as learning their mother tongue.

Learning another language opens up a whole new world for your child. Learning about a different culture, different dress, different foods and customs... these all add to who a child is. In learning about the different cultures, they also learn to be more accepting of other people, regardless of their race, sex, tongue, creed, or culture.

Teaching them another language... or two, or three, or... invests in their life. With extra language skills, your children will have more opportunities... greater opportunities. Bilingual adults have more of a chance of getting hired. Most colleges and graduate schools, these days, require that a student have at least two years of foreign language under their belt before they will be accepted! Also, being fluent in another language gives your child the unique opportunity of studying abroad.

The sad truth is that out of the 66% of the world's population that is at least bilingual, less than 30% of them have English as a first language, and even a smaller percentage is American. There are people all around us that speak another language, and many of the do not speak English. As the world's population grows, the world is shrinking. Are you going to let your children be unprepared?

You live a new life for every new language you speak.

If you know only one language, you live only once. 
(Czech proverb)

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