1. Exposure to More than One Language Builds a More Powerful Brain
Studies in brain development indicate that early exposure to more than one language builds a more powerful brain by boosting synaptic connections.
In her fascinating TED Talk, Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl, Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences and Co-Director, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, explains that babies everywhere are "citizens of the world," who can "discriminate all the sounds of all languages."
During the first critical learning period (before 12 months), "babies are listening intently to us." They learn language by "taking statistics" on the sounds they need to know. Research demonstrates that when babies are exposed to new languages through human interaction--talking, touching, reading, singing and movement--"something incredible happens.... Whatever you put in front of them, they will take statistics on."
Early language education stimulates the developing brain during its window of “celestial openness.”
Bilingual infants and children are acutely aware of different languages and diverse cultures, unmatched by their monolingual peers. They can easily distinguish between familiar speakers, identify which language is being spoken, and respond in the same language.
"The earlier they're introduced to a second language, the easier it will be for them to pick it up. When these children get to school age, they tend to have superior reading and writing skills in both languages, as well as better analytical and academic skills"
-A Guide to Raising Bilingual Children
"Knowing the language of one's parents is an important and essential component of children's cultural identity and sense of belonging."