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If You Want Your Child to be Bilingual, Start Early!

  • 08th July 2019
  • Lauren Bachelder

Always planned on raising your child to be bilingual? Here’s the timeline for how your kiddo’s brain learns language, along with tips for how Apollo Tutors can help you get back on track:

  1. While in The Womb: Speaking to your baby in multiple languages can make a difference!
    Believe it or not, babies distinguish between sounds and separate these sounds into various categories even before birth! “The language preferences that they show at birth reflect their previous listening experience while still on the inside. So it’s never too early to start your baby’s multilingual journey because your baby is learning about properties of their native language(s) while still in your womb!”
    Read More from Bilingual Kidspot
  2. Preschool-Age: Children learn new languages at a fascinating rate!
    If you didn’t begin your child’s language learning journey as early as in the womb, not to despair! According to Naja Ferjan Ramirez, a research scientist at the University of Washington Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences, it’s possible for young children to become fluent in a foreign language even when they don’t live in bilingual homes!
    “With the right science-based approach that combines the features known to grow children’s language, it is possible to give very young children the opportunity to start learning a second language, with only one hour of play per day in an early education setting,” she said. “This has big implications for how we think about foreign-language learning”.
    Don’t miss out on this crucial language-learning phase between ages 3 – 6, and connect with an Apollo Language Emersion Tutor now! Our language immersion program matches children with native speakers of the language to seamlessly integrate fun language learning into the child’s daily schedule- whether it’s a trip to the park, toy store, or going for a walk down the street!
  3. Around Age 12: Your child’s brain changes, making it harder to pick up a new language!
    Have you ever noticed that elementary kiddos can repeat Spanish phrases with ease, while high school students learning Spanish for the first time speak with a much more prominent English accent? Scholastic explains the science behind this phenomenon, and it’s pretty cool:
    “Formal operations, which will continue into adulthood, marks a shift in children’s thinking and speaking. Just before puberty, there is a surge of gray matter production (neurons and connections). Continuing is the growth of white matter (the layer that envelopes nerve fibers) in the language-centered parts of the brain. After age 12, both areas of growth fall off, which marks the end of the critical period for learning languages (i.e., if language is learned after age 12, the speaker will speak with an accent).”
  4. After Age 12: Learning a new language is challenging but possible with the right guidance!
    No matter what age your child is, Apollo Tutors make language learning interactive, fun, and manageable! Whether or not your student receives foreign language classes at school, our tutors add valuable one-on-one practice time for reading, writing, and conversation!