Educational articles and research showing the importance of after school language programs

This section was created to provide schools and parents with various studies and resources to help them understand the importance of learning languages at an early age for both cultural understanding as well as cognitive development.

Learning a second language early in life is easier than learning as an adult

“Acquirers who begin natural exposure to second language during childhood generally achieve higher second language proficiency than those beginning as adults.” (Krashen et al., 1979/1982, reprint: 161) Issues in Modern Foreign Languages Teaching edited by Kit Field

Learning at an early age makes accents and pronunciation easier

“Beginning foreign language instruction early sets the stage for students’ to develop advanced levels of proficiency in one or more languages. In addition, younger learners still possess the capacity to develop near native-like pronunciation and intonation in a new language. Finally, young learners have a natural curiosity about learning which is evident when they engage in learning a new language. They also are open and accepting of people who speak other languages and come from other cultures.” Martha G. Abbott, Director of Education for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)”

Learning languages as a child promote creativity and critical thinking

“For years it was thought that teaching foreign languages to children as young as three was futile. Research findings indicate quite the opposite. There are incredible psychological benefits of learning another language. These benefits extend way beyond being able to order a cup of tea abroad.  Longitudinal studies by Harvard University confirm that learning additional languages increases critical thinking skills, creativity and flexibility of the mind in young children. Pupils who learn a foreign language outscore their non-foreign language learning peers in verbal and maths standardised tests, indicating that learning additional language is a cognitive activity not just a linguistic one” By Catherine Ford in the Telegraph of October 10th 2014

Fun and games is the most effective way for children to learn a new language

“We have four brains in one: the reptile brain, the emotional brain, the “little brain,” and the thinking brain (Jensen, 1994; Dryden & Vos, 1997; MacLean, 1990). The brain stem, sometimes called the reptile brain, controls many of our body’s involuntary functions such as breathing. The mammalian or emotional brain is located in the center of the brain and stores memory. Therefore, learning is easier if it is made emotional or fun. In fact, the door to learning is emotion (Jensen, 1994; MacLean, 1990; Dryden & Vos, 1997). The more fun it is to learn a language, the more a child will want to stay with it. Learning while playing is the best way to learn because it creates emotional attachments, and emotion is the door to learning (Jensen, 1994; Dryden & Vos, 1997; Dryden & Rose, 1995).” Early Childhood News