Every parent wants the best for their baby especially when it comes to their education. However, we understand that with so many options to consider this isn’t an easy decision to make. Which curriculum should they follow? Which type of school is best for them? Should they have a bilingual education? Even at an early stage, the path you choose for your child will likely have a significant impact on their future. So it’s understandable that parents feel the weight of the world on their shoulders.
There are loads of reasons why increasing numbers of parents are considering a bilingual education for their children. Perhaps you speak more than one language and feel it would be useful for the child to learn both languages. Maybe the motivation is driven by the belief that future generations will benefit from speaking more than one language as the world becomes more globalised.
Here are some of the main advantages of bilingual education:
1. Cognitive benefits
Numerous studies have shown that bilingual education improves brain functions. When children are exposed to more than one language from a young age, they develops important skills. Including the ability to switch attention between different areas, working memory and the inhibition function. While children may be stronger in one language than the other, bilingual students often have the ability to switch between the two quite easily.
2. Opens up more opportunities for further education and travel
A major advantage of having your child attend a bilingual nursery is that they will not only be able to speak two languages but they will also be able to develop the ability to read and write in those languages too. Looking to the future, this will open up numerous opportunities for them. For example, they could study abroad at the tertiary level. Furthermore, being fluent in a second language will allow for more enjoyable travel experiences, adding depth to their interactions.
3. Being bilingual will open up career opportunities
As we are all well aware, our world is globalising at a rapid rate. International companies operating in multiple countries look for employees that are bilingual and those with a formal education in more than one language will have that edge over their peers. While speaking more than one language always holds value, widely spoken languages like Spanish, French and Mandarin that are particularly useful.
4. Bilingualism fosters a broader outlook on life
Truly bilingual education isn’t simply about the rote learning of vocabulary and grammar. It’s about being exposed to a different culture too. Bilingual schools provide context to language learning by teaching the children about other countries and cultures. For instance, through the celebration of certain key festivals. Having the opportunity to be immersed in another culture helps to broaden your outlook. It allows the child to interact with other communities in a meaningful way. You’ll find that intercultural communication is a highly valued skill for an increasingly globalised world.
5. Attending a bilingual school is also a cultural opportunity
A significant benefit of sending your child to a bilingual nursery or international school is that it will allow them to interact with people from a broad range of different backgrounds. Exposing kids to foreign cultures encourages understanding and tolerance. Bilingual education teaches children to be open-minded and curious, which is a great attribute to incorporate into their personal lives.
Of course, raising bilingual children is going to be a bit of a learning process for parents too. Language learning is a skill that needs to be nurtured not only at school but at home. While studying in multiple languages can pose challenges, the efforts of all parties (students, teachers and parents) will be rewarded as the child grows up and flourishes in our ever-globalising world.
Find out more about the bilingual education experience at Hatching Dragons: