Guardian Childcare & Education

3 brilliant benefits of learning a second language as a child

20th April 2022

The best age to be exposed to a new language is (drumroll please) as early as possible!

Child laughing with educator at Flinders Street

Why as early as possible?

To start with, learning about language and communication begins at birth. In fact, by the age of one, children have learnt all the sounds that make up their native language.

Being exposed to another language at an early age helps children form a connection to the world.

It’s lucky then that we live in beautiful multicultural Australia. People from all sorts of cultural backgrounds have made Australia home and contributed to making it a great place to live.

Our Guardian Centres introduce children to new languages through Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA).

ELLA is a government-supported initiative that we teach in our Kindergarten and Preschool programs.

By taking part in the program children learn about the diversity of new cultures, and encourage families to share their home languages.

One question we get a lot at Guardian is, will learning a second language too early hurt the development of my child’s first language?

You’ll be happy to hear that learning a second language helps the development of a child’s first language.

3 Benefits For a Child Learning a Second Language

  1. Improving English Literacy: When children learn another language, they use different ‘systems’ within the brain. As they begin to understand what other words mean, they compare and contrast the systems and structure of the new language they are learning with English. This will ultimately provide the child insight into how English works, enhancing their ability to read and write!
  2. Improving Cognitive Concentration: As children begin to learn another language, their brain will strengthen their memory for sequences and structure. This builds more robust pathways to concentrate and build connections for information retention and recall.
  3. Understanding & Respecting Different Cultures: Children will develop a deeper understanding and respect for different cultures and traditions by learning a foreign language. These valuable life skills will create a more profound sense of character and social awareness in your child, shaping them into becoming global and multicultural citizens!

Why ELLA at Guardian?

Guardian has invested in specialist ELLA champions in its centres to support the program’s implementation at centres where ELLA is delivered.

We also believe in play-based learning, and play is one of the best ways to learn a second language.

LANGUAGE OF THE HEART AT HOMEBUSH

Guardian Homebush has been using the ELLA program to support children exploring and learning Mandarin. In addition to learning Mandarin via the ELLA apps, the children have opportunities to interact with peers in Mandarin. They also learn to recognise the Chinese number characters by playing board games. Inspired by the resources in the ELLA, the Homebush Team set up board games for the apps, At the Zoo, At the Circus, and At the Park to boost the children’s interest in the language.

Guardian Homebush

BUONGIORNO, GUARDIAN LAURIMAR!

The Pizza Café is a hit with children at Guardian Laurimar as they combine food and culture in their Italian ELLA program. The children rolled up their sleeves to make their pizzas, and they even created their pizza shop featuring the Centre’s outdoor pizza oven. Side note, Guardian Laurimar can expect some visitors now we know they have a pizza oven! The activity complemented the learning in the Ella app, making fun and rich experience for the children.

 

The best age to be exposed to a new language is (drumroll please) as early as possible!

Guardian Laurimar


Want more information? We recommend reaching out to your Centre and talking to your friendly Centre manager for more information about what books they’re reading, which stories and songs your child is most responsive to during the day or why not just have a chat about how beautiful children’s books are.

Not enrolled at a Guardian Centre? Reach out and book a tour today.


 Guardian Childcare & Education Mt Eliza and their Spanish experience

children sitting with Educator learning Spanish through ELLA program

Educator, Sara, is championing the initiative, which is a digital, play-based language learning program delivered through iPads and additional resources.

“I was actually working in the pre-kinder room when the children first started the ELLA program,” says Sara.

“As the Educators teaching it didn’t speak the language, they approached to take over as I am from Spain, and I was excited for the opportunity to share my culture and background with the children.”

“I really enjoy teaching the children my language, and I think it’s very important to help them understand that there’s other languages and cultures out there for them to explore.”

“The children really enjoy playing the ELLA games and then repeating the words they’ve just learnt.”

“They find it very interesting and are excited to participate, often asking me throughout the week when it’s time for their next Spanish lesson.”

“Outside of our lessons, I share information about Spain with the children, and in turn they ask how we say certain things, and request words they want to learn next.”

“I love that the children are learning, understanding and enjoying a second, or third, language at the Centre. Having this foundation will serve them well later in life, and hopefully instill a lifelong love of learning and exploring.”

What are the benefits, advantages and disadvantages of learning a second language? 

 As we mentioned earlier, there are many advantages to learning a foreign language at an early age. When we’re asked why a child should learn a second language, we explain that a significant advantage for many families in learning a language connected to family history is that it deepens their connection to one another, their extended family, and their heritage. 

 Bilingual children are able to better and more confidently communicate with family members who might not be fluent in English. It also means that children can hear stories about family history and heritage from an early age. Hearing these stories first-hand can play a massive part in a child’s development and understanding of self and identity. 

Why children should start learning a second language before primary school

Some parents have raised concerns that learning a second language at a young age is too much. They’re asking if children can even distinguish between two languages when they haven’t mastered their first language yet. 

We respond to this concern with a simple answer: children can indeed tell the difference between two languages. We’re excited to tell you that learning a new language is helpful for your child. As we mentioned earlier, as children learn another language, their brains will strengthen their memory for sequences and structure. When this happens, it builds more robust pathways to concentrate and develop connections for information retention and recall.

While learning to communicate, bilingual children can sometimes start a sentence in one language and finish it in another. This is not anything families should worry about as the child grows out of this as their communication skills develop. Children exposed to more than one language from birth become fluent speakers of all their languages.

The benefits of learning a second language are truly endless, and there are things you can do at home, both long and short term, which help support this skill to grow. 

How to help your child absorb their second language at home

Do it together

If you are not already a native speaker of the language your child is learning, why not commit to learning it along with them! You can practise and even do lessons together.

Make it fun at home

Use the second language your child is learning to play games, read books, cook food and other experiences that really immerse you both in the culture and learn about the language in action. 

Get out and about

There are a lot of places that you can go together where you can both practise your child’s second language. Take a walk together and see how many things outside you can name. You could even make a game of Bingo out of this experience. 

Meet up with others who are learning the same language

If you aren’t fluent in your child’s second language, talk to friends and family who are. Even if you are fluent, it’s a tremendous confidence-building experience for your child to practise speaking their new language in front of others and, just as necessary, be exposed to others speaking that language. 

Sing out loud

Just like singing is a great way to help your child become a reader from birth, it’s a brilliant way to help your child learn a second language. Singing is a fun way to help your child learn and remember words and sentence structure in a second (and first) language – so there is no downside to belting out a tune or a nursery rhyme or two together. 


Top Recent Articles


Child laughing with educator at Flinders Street

3 brilliant benefits of learning a second language as a child

The Joy of Reading at Guardian

Why singing to children is about more than just peaceful sleep

Reading to children tips Guardian

Tips for Reading to Wriggly Children

Handwashing hygiene

Here is the right way to wash your hands to keep you and your family safe this winter

Safe Sleep Week 2022

Safe Sleep Week 2022

Archives


2022

  • April 2022 (4)
  • March 2022 (1)
  • February 2022 (2)
  • January 2022 (1)
  • 2021

  • December 2021 (3)
  • November 2021 (2)
  • October 2021 (4)
  • August 2021 (1)
  • July 2021 (3)
  • June 2021 (2)
  • April 2021 (1)
  • March 2021 (9)
  • February 2021 (2)
  • January 2021 (3)
  • 2020

  • December 2020 (5)
  • November 2020 (10)
  • October 2020 (7)
  • September 2020 (6)
  • July 2020 (11)
  • June 2020 (1)
  • May 2020 (10)
  • April 2020 (22)
  • March 2020 (20)
  • February 2020 (19)
  • January 2020 (19)
  • 2019

  • December 2019 (20)
  • November 2019 (17)
  • October 2019 (26)
  • September 2019 (31)
  • August 2019 (37)
  • July 2019 (24)
  • June 2019 (10)
  • May 2019 (1)
  • January 2019 (1)
  • 2018

  • December 2018 (2)
  • November 2018 (3)
  • October 2018 (4)
  • September 2018 (5)
  • August 2018 (4)
  • July 2018 (9)
  • June 2018 (9)
  • May 2018 (7)
  • April 2018 (5)
  • March 2018 (8)
  • February 2018 (6)
  • January 2018 (9)
  • 2017

  • December 2017 (10)
  • November 2017 (13)
  • October 2017 (10)
  • September 2017 (13)
  • August 2017 (15)
  • July 2017 (14)
  • June 2017 (14)
  • May 2017 (23)
  • April 2017 (17)
  • March 2017 (28)
  • February 2017 (20)
  • January 2017 (5)
  • 2016

  • December 2016 (4)
  • June 2016 (1)
  • May 2016 (1)
  • March 2016 (2)
  • February 2016 (2)
  • January 2016 (1)
  • 2015

  • July 2015 (1)
  • Looking for the right Childcare Centre for your Family?

    Submit your details and a member of our Concierge Team will be in touch to discuss what you need and how we can help you experience something more than childcare.

    We'll be in touch soon.

    YOUR DETAILS

    *Mandatory Fields

    You May Also Want to Read This

    two children eating strawberries

    19th July 2017

    5 Things to do with Children this Winter in Brisbane

    tackling fussy eaters

    23rd August 2017

    5 Ways to Tackle Fussy Eaters

    Two children wearing backpacks waiting at traffic light in CBD

    16th August 2017

    The Benefits of Choosing an Early Learning Centre Close to Work