Unlike teenagers and adults, children can pick up and learn languages subconsciously – they can do it just by listening and observing, without really putting that much of a conscious effort.
But, does that mean it’s okay to teach children English as early as possible? If it is, then why? What are the benefits of teaching children how to speak English early on in their lives?
1. Younger children are capable of acquiring a second language like English as effectively as they did for their primary language.
2. The language acquisition process for children is natural and there are many ways for them to pick up on the language. This includes taking part in a shared activity with an adult who speaks the said language, like English. Children can easily learn the language just by simply talking to an adult in English on a regular basis.
3. Because your children’s minds are not yet cluttered with other useful (and non-useful) information and they are not as pressured to achieve set standards yet, it’s easier for children to learn a new language like English.
4. Multiple studies have shown that children who learned a second language in their younger years develop language-learning strategies that they subconsciously use to learn other languages later on in life. This means that multilingual children can pick up third, fourth, fifth, and so on languages much easier compared to monolingual children.
5. A young child who learns a second language is more likely to get a similar feel for the language as that of a Native speaker.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why children need to start and learn English in Singapore early on in their lives, and very few reasons why they shouldn’t.
Learning can be done in school, at home, or through supplemental education like an English language course in Singapore that’s specifically designed for younger children.
Either way, if you are a parent yourself or a guardian, you are in an ideal position to give children the best chance at learning a new language like English. Even if you don’t possess a particularly high level of English yourself, you can take the time to learn it and it can become a shared activity for the two of you – a win-win situation for all parties involved.
As for the exact age when children should ideally start learning English, many studies show that lifelong attitudes start forming around the age of eight or nine. Although, it is important to keep in mind that there are also studies that show that adolescents are better at learning a new language than younger children and are more likely to score higher in language proficiency tastes when learning another language.
Regardless, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t get your child to learn the language earlier.
Whether it’s to improve their chances of developing a native-like accent of a particular language or to cultivate their love for learning a new language at a young age, there are many benefits to teaching children English at an early age.