This post is part of a five post series on Individual Differences.
Over 20 different home languages are spoken in the homes of SLC families. Over the last several years, SLC has seen a dramatic increase in children who are bilingual, trilingual or are being exposed to English for the very first time.
Bilingual children are often very creative and good at problem solving. Compared to children who speak one language, those who are bilingual can communicate with more people, read more, and benefit more from travel. Such children will have an additional skill when they enter the workforce.
Learning a second language confuses a child.
Children do not get confused, even when they combine languages in one sentence. Mixing languages is a normal and expected part of learning a second language.
Learning a second language as preschooler invariably will slow down children’s readiness to read.
Actually, the opposite is often true. Bilingual children make the transition to decoding words well.
When children are exposed to two languages, they never become as proficient in either language as children who have to master only one language.
As long as they are exposed consistently to both languages, children can become proficient readily in both languages.
Only the brightest children can learn two languages without encountering problems. Most children have difficulty because the process is so complex.
Nearly all children are capable of learning two languages during the preschool years.
In addition, research shows that children who develop a sound foundation in their first language are more efficient in learning a second language.
Welcoming children from different cultures enriches our school in a unique way. All of us benefit.