Sports clubs, music lessons and dance classes are some of the most popular extracurricular activities for young children after a long day at school. Whilst these are important and aid in the development of key life skills such as teamwork, creativity, and discipline; more and more parents are enrolling their young ones in language classes. Research shows that learning a second language boosts problem-solving, critical-thinking, and listening skills, in addition to improving memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask. Children proficient in other languages also show signs of enhanced creativity and mental flexibility. Whilst there is no conclusive proof that children learn languages better than adults (it’s never too late to learn!), they do have the advantage of being less self-conscious, having more time and they absorb a lot of information without even realising it. The younger the child is, the better, as babies’ brains are specially geared for language learning: at birth, a baby can already tell the difference between all 800 sounds (to put this into context, English only uses about 40 sounds or phonemes.) By their first birthdays, children begin to lose their ability to hear the differences between foreign language sounds.
For children who have parents from or ties to non-English speaking countries, picking up the language of their mother country can be a crucial way of reconnecting with their family or cultural heritage, especially when they are mainly speaking English at school.
In the context of the current pandemic, children won’t have been on holiday for the last year and a half. Language lessons can provide valuable exposure to other cultures and language in place of these trips.
With all this in mind, maybe it’s time to consider enrolling your child in a language class! Send us an email if you are interested. We offer After School Clubs during term time and have Holiday Clubs during the school holidays. Accent also collaborates with many primary schools on the island and our teachers are able to come in before school, at lunchtimes or after school for 45-minute lessons. For younger children, you could request classes from your child’s preschool or nursery. For more specialised learning, we can offer private lessons, either at Accent, at home or online.