In Alaria Nursery Schools we develop an English – Spanish – Chinese multilingual programme i) under a natural exposure scope and ii) with no “simultaneous translation” (Spanish, English and Chinese teams only speak their own native languages).
Additionally to evident social advantages of multilingualism for children, we also introduce it in our programme due to the benefits for your child’s healthy development at all levels: the vast majority of recent studies carried out by various universities around the world identify numerous advantages in teaching two or more languages to children aged 0 – 6 (in addition to the obvious social benefits related to communication):
- There are obvious cognitive development benefits (UCLA-2010) caused by exposure to more than two languages, allowing children to develop stronger high thinking skills (metalinguistic awareness, creativity or sensitivity when communicating, for example). During recent years, several studies (Centers Health Studies of CRP and others) have showed that speaking different languages allows individuals to develop particular cognitive processes that help them to be more resistant to the aging of the brain and cognitive decline in old age, thus delaying diseases like Alzheimer’s
- Multilingualism significantly improves the child’s ability of abstraction (MIT and York University-2009/10) at an early age, compared to monolingual children. It greatly improves the children’s problem solving skills, as well as their logical thinking abilities
- The development of proficiency in more than one language influences in a very significant way the child’s memory capacity (Baddeleyy Hitch 1986-2000)
- The fact that multilingual children have better social skills has also been demonstrated (UCLA-2010). Some of these skills include greater social integration, multicultural skills and appreciation of other cultures
All these abilities are developed while the child is exposed to a new language, enormously helping the “synapses” process, the creation of new specific neuronal networks that do not develop if new language exposure does not take occur.
Furthermore, these neural networks derived from the child’s exposure to the new language will be used in the future not only for the development of language skills, but also to enhance other capabilities mentioned above.
Moreover, these new neural connections can only be formed in children aged 0 to 6-7: in other words, there is a “window of opportunity”, if the child is not exposed to the stimuli that lead to the creation of new neural connections at that age, these cannot be developed in the future