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At What Age Should Kids Learn Languages?

Giving your child the gift of learning another language is life-long and has the potential to broaden their horizons through travel, career opportunities and so much more. That’s not all though, learning languages enriches their lives, and their brains!

It can be hard to make the decision on when your child should be learning another language and you might be hesitant to start early. However, language confusion is a myth when children are learning two languages. It actually benefits them to learn the language while they are young.

What are the benefits of kids learning languages?

The benefit of kids learning languages goes much further than helping them in career opportunities in the future. Learning languages will also potentially benefit your child by:

  • Raising their general language skills: When children learn a second language they become more acutely aware of the conventions and grammar of their native tongue, giving them a boost in English reading and writing skills.
  • Giving them more worldwide university opportunities: Being fluent in a second language means your child might choose to travel abroad to study and gain internationally renowned degrees or certificates.
  • Allowing them to be more culturally aware and sensitive: Knowing another language allows children to be more open-minded and open to other people’s spiritual and cultural differences.
  • Boosting their cognitive and problem solving skills: Learning languages has been known to boost a child’s cognitive and problem solving skills as they tap into those areas of their brain while learning a new language.
  • Improving their short term and long term memory: Being bilingual often means having one dominant language but remembering the other and using it as needed. This helps improve a child’s general short term and long term memory too.

At what age should kids start to learn a second language?

Children begin to acquire language at a very early age. There’s no stopping them from acquiring two languages at once during that time when they are readily learning and mimicking sounds and accents. The younger kids start to learn a second language, the more likely they are to become proficient at those languages in the future.

What happens when children get to school?

In Queensland, a Language program from Prep to Year 12 in schools is strongly encouraged. However, it is currently compulsory in all schools only from years 5 to 8 according to the Languages in Queensland policy. The most common languages available at Queensland government schools are:

  • Japanese
  • German
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Italian
  • Indonesian
  • French

If you are considering your child learning another language, there really is no better time to start than the present and the benefits make it worth it!

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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