Have you pondered teaching your child a new language, but you just aren’t sure how to get started or if it’s worth the investment? Here are five benefits of bilingualism that might just help you make up your mind.
Studies have shown that bilingual kids have a statistically significant improvement in reading capabilities in English, as they learn quickly to navigate across two different languages.
If you want your kid to be a test taking whiz, then learning another language is one way to help raise those scores. Kids who know another language do demonstratively better on tests, likely due to the next benefit.
Problem Solving and Executive Functioning
Bilingual kids show a strong ability to problem solve, because their executive functioning is on hyperdrive. Learning a new language requires lots of switching between languages, as well as careful thought about which word to choose, which over time improves both problem solving and executive functioning.
Kids who learn another language are incidentally also given the gift of cultural awareness. They gain an early perspective on diversity and learn the way others live. Simply learning another language broadens a child’s horizons in ways that are still showing up in scientific studies. Studies have shown that bilingual kids have a strong sense of empathy, likely due to such exposure to other cultures different from their own.
Long Term Mental Health Benefits
Studies have also shown that bilingualism can prevent dementia as a person grows older. It might feel strange to think of that benefit now, as your child is so young, but the improved functioning of the brain provided by learning another language has benefits that last a lifetime.
Clearly the benefits are compelling, but how can you reap the benefits of bilingualism for your little one if you don’t speak another language in your family? Here in Portland there are so many options to explore for almost every language you can think of! One great example is Scuola Italiana di Portland. Scuola is a local non-profit here in Portland, OR with a mission to promote Italian language and culture for all ages from newborn to adults.
You can dip your toe into the Italian language by bringing your little one to one of their free playgroups for ages 0-4. They also have an immersive part time preschool program and an ongoing after school and weekend program so that your child can continue to grow and learn the language. If you are interested in learning a new language, they also offer adult classes! It’s never too late to gain a new skill and all the wonderful benefits of a new language.
Scuola Italiana is offering our readers a 10% discount off total tuition for any program! Email [email protected] and mention the code PMBItalian to get your discounted cost!
Scuola Italiana di Portland promotes the Italian language and culture to children and adults in a student-centered environment, nurturing responsible, global citizens by providing cross-cultural understanding and fostering a deep appreciation for world civilizations that intersect with the Italian culture.