In our globalised world, speaking foreign languages is getting more and more important. Knowing other languages and understanding other cultures is a very important 21st Century skill! But why is it such an advantage to learn a second language already at an early age? What are the differences in the teaching methods and what should be the content of a successful Spanish class for kids? OnSpain gives you the most important facts concerning Spanish for kids.
The advantages of learning a language at an early age are the following:
Multilingualism is a peacemaker: Scientist are of the opinion, that children who are in contact with different languages and therefore with different cultures, tend to be more open-minded and less xenophobic. Furthermore they are more flexible and creative. And this has a simple reason: Early learning provokes a higher generation of synapses! This also means that learning one language opens the door to more languages. And maybe the most important fact: The earlier a child starts to learn another language, the more probable it is, that the pronunciation will become nearly native-like!
Of course the way to teach children is not the same as the way to teach adults.
Certainly you can start to learn a language at whatever age. The advantage of adults is it that we have an idea about the grammar structure of our language and therefore understand how a language is built-up and how we have to study it. But children have a natural curiosity about learning which will make them speak another language without the exhausting grammar and vocabulary learning. It just happens! The most important thing is the motivation. Kids should learn in a playful way! So Spanish classes for kids should include games, songs, handicrafts and multimedia-based material. It is not all about efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. Children shall have fun while learning!
But one thing parents have to remember: Children do not only learn quickly, they also forget quickly…. So it is very important to continue!
Of course also the content is different:
Whilst adults like to specialise in specific fields like business or law, children need vocabulary that has to do with their daily life: Their thoughts turn around games, family, animals… To sum it up: A child should not learn another language just because its parents want it to have a big career in the future. Parents have to think smaller. Think about your next holidays abroad. Or maybe you have family members in Spain?
If you got interested and are thinking about sending your little ones to Spain to immerse in the Spanish language, read our post about the 10 reasons to learn Spanish in Andalusia and have a look at our Summercamp Programme 2015! Your child will be surrounded by other children of the same age and will learn Spanish in a childlike and playful way!
In the future, we will publish articles with contents for children in our OnSpain blog. Have a look and have fun!