Benefits of Bilingual Kindergarten
Children that learn a second language in their first years have a head start in language development that lasts a lifetime. Solid research in neuroscience and brain development shows that young children are geniuses at acquiring a second language, especially in the early 2-3 years of life.
Nothing illustrates this as well as the breakthrough work of Harvard University professor Pat Levitt on brain development. Levitt and his colleagues showed that the rate of synapse formation associated with language is highest in the first 3 years of life. See graph:
Bilingual Education at Sprouts
At Sprouts, we strongly focus on immersive bilingual early learning so that children grow up speaking English and Thai fluently, effortlessly and with confidence. We believe that this gives the children a head-start in their linguistic abilities, language awareness, and multicultural awareness. Our native Thai-speaking teachers and our native English-speaking teachers work and speak with the children in their respective mother tongue (“One person – One language”).
In this way every child gets fully immersed in two languages – all day and every day. The children get better at their own familiar language and learn the melody and vocabulary of the 2nd language in a playful and fun way through songs, poems, scientific exploration, art, games as well as specific activities that foster the development of English and Thai. For children at Sprouts, there is no need for special language instruction.
Benefits of Sprouts Immersive Bilingual Learning
- Children learn to speak two languages simultaneously and enjoy it
- Children build a solid foundation for all future language learning
- Children learn to switch quickly between two languages, which boosts cognitive flexibility
- Children learn to see and value Thai and foreigner teachers as equals, which means they also learn to value other students and themselves as equals.
The Linguistic Genius of Babies
A fascinating TED talk with Patricia Kuhl of the Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington.
Further Reading and Research:
- Solid research shows that people who speak different languages score higher in tests that measure open-mindedness and cultural sensitivity and have an easier time seeing things from a different perspective.
- Bilingual children build a solid foundation for all future language learning
- True bilingualism also offers a specific benefit to those who regularly speak two or more languages at a native level, and crucially, switch between them on a regular basis. A study of Singaporeans who grew up with and used their native Asian tongue and English regularly showed that their brains were more nimble and agile. Bilingual speakers who didn’t often switch between the two languages or only used one language in a specific setting, like home, showed far fewer benefits and increases in cognitive flexibility, which is one of three Executive Functions.