French-Swiss private school in Lausanne
French-Swiss private school in Lausanne
 The importance of speaking two languages from a young age.

The importance of speaking two languages from a young age.

The importance of acquiring two languages from a young age lies in the multiple benefits it offers children. From early childhood, being exposed to two languages promotes cognitive development, strengthens their ability to adapt and broadens their understanding of the world around them. Bilingual children thus have the opportunity to cultivate advanced language skills, increase their mental flexibility and develop an appreciation of diverse cultures. This valuable skill also prepares them to succeed in a globalized context, where mastery of several languages becomes increasingly essential.


Why start learning a foreign language from a young age? 
At what age should you start learning a second language?

Children's brains are remarkably powerful, as they develop rapidly during this time, absorbing a lot of information. As early as pregnancy, a baby is able to hear and assimilate sounds, setting the stage for early learning of a second language.

Learning before the age of 5, whether in a family environment or in nursery school, promotes complete acquisition of the language, including sounds, without developing an accent based on the mother tongue. Learning before the age of 9, during the primary school years, also remains very beneficial due to the continued ability to develop language and syntactic skills.

From the age of 3, children begin to form complete sentences and expand their vocabulary in their native language. It is therefore a good time to introduce new words into their linguistic repertoire.

Some parents may worry that younger children will not be able to differentiate between two languages or that the second language will take precedence over their mother tongue. However, children are perfectly capable of assimilating several languages, and these reinforce each other.

It is crucial to start learning a second language between the ages of 3 and 6, because after the age of 7, the brain reaches a stage of maturation that makes language learning less intuitive. At this stage, it is no longer a question of assimilating a language in a natural way, but rather of learning a “language” in a more formal way. That's all the difference.


The benefits of bilingualism in children

As you have understood, the sooner a foreign language is learned, the better it is assimilated. But why want your child to be bilingual? We present to you the three main advantages of learning a new language from early childhood.

Develop your cognitive skills

Starting to speak two languages at a young age has a range of cognitive benefits. Navigating between two language systems trains the brain to operate more flexibly, which improves adaptability and problem-solving ability. Research has also shown that bilingual children often have better memories, greater attention spans, and more creative thinking. These enhanced cognitive skills represent an invaluable benefit that positively impacts all aspects of the child's life.

When the brain learns a new language, it must juggle several symbols, which stimulates the development of its cognitive abilities. This brain gymnastics promotes the creation of new connections that facilitate other learning. Thus, the child finds it easier to communicate, concentrate, understand and memorize. These skills will be valuable throughout his life and will even allow him to assimilate other languages if he wishes.

Open your mind to the world

Learning a foreign language from childhood also allows the child to open up to the world by discovering a new culture. Bilingualism thus brings personal enrichment and greater tolerance towards cultural differences, essential qualities in our current society. Additionally, children who are gifted in languages are often more inclined to travel.

Prepare your future

Bilingual children have a real advantage over their monolingual peers, both personally and professionally. From middle school, two new languages are introduced into the school curriculum. A bilingual student will thus have much more ease in this new subject, as well as in learning a second modern language. This advantage will then be revealed in high school and during higher education, which can even lead to integration into a bilingual school or to studies abroad. Mastery of several languages opens many doors, as international profiles are often considered more attractive on the job market. By choosing to introduce your child to a second language, you are also preparing their future.

The social and cultural dimensions of bilingualism 

Speaking two languages also broadens children's social and cultural horizons. They gain a deeper understanding of cultural diversity and develop an appreciation of different perspectives. This open-mindedness promotes tolerance and encourages children to interact with empathy and respect towards others, regardless of their cultural or linguistic origin. Additionally, bilingualism makes it easier to communicate with a variety of people, paving the way for lasting friendships and future opportunities.


The professional impact of bilingualism from an early age

Finally, speaking two languages from an early age prepares children to succeed in an increasingly connected world. In the era of globalization, mastery of several languages has become a valuable asset in the job market. Companies are actively seeking individuals who can communicate effectively in multiple languages and navigate cultural barriers with ease. Thus, early bilingualism provides children with a competitive advantage that can shape their professional careers and broaden their future prospects.

Speaking two languages from a young age offers a multitude of benefits that enrich children's development cognitively, linguistically, culturally and academically. It’s a valuable investment in their future.

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