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  • Bring your Children to English (or Spanish) Class

    English students of mine and my wife’s will know that we recently had a baby girl. Of course, we’re both interested in language learning, and take Spanish classes online.

    We both really want our daughter to begin learning a second language as young as possible. Besides the advantage of knowing two languages, several studies have proven that growing up bilingual offers a host of benefits for children. From an article in Newsweek:

    Bilingualism, of course, can be a leg up for college admission and a résumé burnisher. But a growing body of research now offers a further rationale: the regular, high-level use of more than one language may actually improve early brain development.

    According to several different studies, command of two or more languages bolsters the ability to focus in the face of distraction, decide between competing alternatives, and disregard irrelevant information. These essential skills are grouped together, known in brain terms as “executive function.” The research suggests they develop ahead of time in bilingual children, and are already evident in kids as young as 3 or 4.

    So when should you start teaching a second language to your children? After watching the TED video posted below of researcher Patrica Kuhl talking about “The linguistic genius of babies” we realized that, even though our daughter is less than 2 months old, it’s a great time to begin.

    Being the believers in Skype language learning that we are, Teauna and I have started bringing our daughter to our Spanish classes. Honestly, it’s hard to tell if she’s absorbing anything at this point. Mostly she just sleeps through the classes. But we hope that as she grows, she’ll grow up with both Spanish and English.

    We configure the classes with our audio playing through our computer’s speakers, so that our daughter will hear our Spanish and our teacher’s Spanish, so that they get to hear a native speaker along with our non-native accents (and mistakes).

    We have a few students who have also started bringing their babies to English classes, with the same purpose in mind. There’s no extra charge for bringing babies (or anyone!) to your class with you, so if you have a child, feel free to bring him or her to class. Also, we offer classes for children, and have had great success teaching English to children over Skype at as young as 7. Contact us if you’re interested in English classes for you or your children (or babies).