No one doubts the power of language. Being bilingual has practical benefits in business and when traveling, but recent research shows that it actually makes our brains better. In a 2004 study, psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee found that bilinguals, for instance, seem to be more adept than monolinguals at solving certain kinds of mental puzzles. The collective evidence from several studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the management of the brain’s executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, problem solving, reasoning and performing various other mentally demanding tasks.
If you’re interested in raising a bilingual child, studies show that children learn a new language best between birth and the age of seven. There is a range of structures you can utilize whether it’s enrolling your child in a language immersion school or have your child practice another language with your au pair. Karen Nemeth has written several books on young dual language learners and believes that, “a child can’t develop true bilingual fluency unless they are exposed to rich, varied, interesting language through conversation, books, stories, songs, rhymes and games.”
It actually might more detrimental for language learners to suffer through grammar-focused instruction. The changing trends in language education are encouraging students to use language as a tool for communication, not as a complex set of rules. With the help of your au pair, make learning a new language fun with our animal vocabulary cards and compare animal names and sounds in different languages!
Download our animal language cards and cut out them out in the following languages: