Why Earlier is Better When it Comes to a Spanish Curriculum for KidsBrooks
Spanish for preschoolers and elementary school Spanish curricula are becoming more and more popular in the U.S. and for good reason. In today’s day and age, most people realize and accept that learning a foreign language is vastly easier for those that start young as opposed to people who don’t try picking it up until later in life. On top of that, children who speak a second language can typically learn a third language even faster. Starting a Spanish curriculum for kids before the age of 10 is great, but if you can expose them to it even earlier than that — all the better.
According to a new study reported by TheConversation.com, at just 11 months of age babies might not be able to speak or learn words, but they can process and differentiate between different language sounds. The study used a noninvasive technology to study brain activity called magnetoencephalography (MEG) to study brain activity in babies from monolingual and bilingual families/environments. Overall, more than two-thirds of the world’s children are bilingual, but in the U.S., only 17% of the total population speaks a second language in addition to English, according to the Summer Institute of Linguistics.
What they found was that a baby’s brain can become attuned to specific languages before they turn one year old. Babies that were born into bilingual Spanish and English speaking families could process the sounds of both languages equally, proving it wasn’t just coincidental noise that the monolingual babies were responding to.
If you don’t live in an area that offers foreign language for younger children, it might be time to start thinking about a homeschool Spanish curriculum. While it might seem unfeasible for families that are not naturally bilingual to start a baby on a Spanish curriculum for kids, this is just another important study that lends credence to the fact that earlier is better when it comes to learning a foreign language.
The benefits of a Spanish curriculum for kids doesn’t end at learning the actual language itself either.
“Research has found that bilingual adults and children show an improved executive functioning of the brain — that is, they are able to shift attention, switch between tasks and solve problems more easily,” wrote Naja Ferjan Ramirez, the lead research scientist on the study from the University of Washington. “Bilinguals have also been found to have increased metalinguistic skills (the ability to think about language per se, and understand how it works).”
If a smart baby is something you want for your child (and really who doesn’t?), a great way to start is by introducing any other kids you may have to a Spanish curriculum for kids and have them grow up in an environment where they will be exposed to it daily.