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Does it benefit small children to be multi- lingual?

Posted in: Blog | May 24, 2018

In October 2014, the Daily Telegraph covered an article on European children’s ability to converse fluently in English. It stated that research findings indicate that it is incredibly beneficial for children to be introduced to foreign languages by the age of three years. 

‘Longitudinal studies by Harvard University, confirm that a knowledge of foreign languages increases critical thinking skills, creativity and flexibility of the mind in young children.’ It was also claimed, ‘those who learn a foreign language at an early age, perform better in latter verbal and mathematical SATs tests.’ ( Source: Daily Telegraph October 2014)

When children join us at Tiny Toes, regardless of age, they are introduced to foreign languages, mainly French and Italian, with some Spanish. Having children in preschool who speak Bengali and Welsh, inspired us to try out those languages too! In the preschool room, and scattered about the entire building, are signs in French and Italian, which helps expose the children to a variety of languages.

Children are like sponges. They soak up new knowledge at an amazing rate. They don’t hesitate to attempt new words in any language, not experiencing the embarrassment some older children or adults do.

As with all learning at Tiny Toes, we use music and rhyme to help embed new information. The children love the repetition of ‘Dora the Explorer’ and ‘ Go, Diego, go!’ Both support the teaching of Spanish at preschool level. ‘Monde du TonTon’ introduces basic French vocabulary in a fun way. You will hear smattering  of French songs throughout the setting, even in the baby room!

At Tiny Toes we appreciate that young children can distinguish the sounds of foreign language, that we as adults, cannot. With this in mind, we expose he children to the varied intonations, syntax and rhythm of different languages. Their fascination with rhyme and song, makes learning a foreign language  not only a happy and fun experience, but also, as state earlier, most beneficial experience.

Sue Ord Dip. HE BA English (Hons) 2:1 PGCE Tiny Toes EY Child Development  Specialist.