Can babies learn a second language?

can babies learn a second language?

When we think about educational activities for our babies and toddlers, many parents will ask themselves, Can babies learn a second language?

There are many things that we can do with our babies and toddlers and we all want the best for them, but is trying to introduce a second language at an early age a step too far?

As a  very experienced language teacher and in all my endeavours to promote learning languages in Early Years, finding and reading about these recent studies really fuels my efforts.

“Science indicates that babies’ brains are the best learning machines ever created, and that infants’ learning is time-sensitive. Their brains will never be better at learning a second language than they are between 0 and 3 years of age,” said co-author Patricia Kuhl, co-director of I-LABS (University of Washington Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences) and a UW professor of speech and hearing sciences.

Therefore, the answer is, of course, a great one! Yes, babies can learn a second language, even if they don’t get the language exposure at home from bilingual parents.

For years, scientists and parents alike have rightly insisted in  the benefits of introducing babies to two languages: Bilingual experience has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, especially problem-solving.

And for infants raised in households where two languages are spoken, that bilingual learning happens almost effortlessly. But  babies in monolingual households  can develop the same skills.

The next question would be, how can we teach a second language to babies? Again this recent study supports my method when creating the Nanos Spanish Programme for our local classes.

Infants will learn anything by getting involved, playing and having fun. Experiencing the language, playing with it and enjoying every second will grant confidence and a very important base for their future learning.

Would attending to a language class independently or at their Early Years settings be enough?

Time of exposure is another important element when babies and young children learn a second language. A little bit, often and in a playful manner will make wonders.

Reading bilingual books, making a craft activity using the language they are learning, watching a programme they like in the second language, toys that include the target language, the possibilities are endless.

If you have decided now is the right time for your baby or toddler to learn a second language or you are as interested as we are in a great quality early years education , we can help too!

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