Spanish for Children - The Must-Know for Parents
The amazing brains of children
Children's brains are like sponges, soaking up information from all around them.
We say that for a number of reasons. From birth to age three, babies form more than a million neural connections every second. The fact that children learn languages so quickly and effortlessly is no surprise.
Dr. Patricia Kuhl’s research at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington shows that babies can distinguish and eventually produce the sounds of all the different languages of the world!
However, gradually their neurons commit to the omnipresent mother tongue and they lose their “ear” for foreign sounds.
Good news, though! Early exposure to language can help retain the ability.
While it is highly beneficial to start learning as early as possible, older children still have an advantage when it comes to learning. They absorb the information much faster and are able to copy sounds that we as adults can’t do that skillfully.
What is Intentional Bilingualism?
Intentional bilingualism occurs when parents introduce a foreign language into their child’s world while not being native speakers themselves.
Are you familiar with the basics of Spanish?
Did you learn Spanish at some point your life, but you don't remember much of it?
Maybe you don't speak Spanish at all?
It doesn’t matter what your answer is, you can teach your child Spanish and encourage him to become bilingual. Combining online lessons for kids with some home practice will be the most effective. Check out our Spanish lessons for kids. They are tailored to your child’s needs.
Let’s forget about the strict perception of bilingualism from the past decades. According to the more and more popular definition of the professor Francois Grosjean, you are a bilingual person if you communicate in two languages on a daily basis.
What does that mean?
Raising bilingual kids isn't just for couples from different cultures. By providing your child with adequate language exposure on a daily basis, you also have this opportunity.
Learning Languages Through Fun
Learning the fun way may seem like just a catchphrase.
But, trust us, there is much more to it!
There is a lot of neuroscientific prove, that having fun activates our emotional brain and hence, reinforces information retention.
In any children’s game, be it a symbolic or a locomotor play, there is much more to it than just entertainment. Children test their physical skills, expand their social skills and train their cognition.
Playing and having fun are actually crucial ways for children to learn and develop their intellect, physical skills, and emotional abilities.
Music, games, and stories work best to help children learn. These activities allow for introducing learning – inductive techniques, such as movement, repetition, multimodality. Music is a direct pathway to the brain that brings global cognitive benefits.
A study conducted in Macedonia showed that teaching foreign languages in a game-based manner increases the motivation of students and their positive association with the foreign language.
A story on the other hand provides children with the opportunity to absorb information about the rhythm and intonation of the language as well as learn new vocabulary in a contextualized way.
Check out our list of Spanish books for kids! Here you can find plenty of ideas on how to expose your child to high quality language learning.
The Key to Learning is Interaction
A study carried out by Patricia Kuhl, the co-director of the Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington focused on foreign language acquisition by nine months old infants.
One of the groups learned Mandarin with a native speaker, the other one learned with audio and video exposure and the last one just by listening to the audio.
Are you able to guess which group actually had the best results?
Yes, it was by far the group taught by the native speakers. Human interaction is invaluable at this stage.
Electronic media doesn’t provide the same rich experience as interactive communication. Studies on preschoolers have found similar results. Although vocabulary can be learned with videos, more complicated aspects of the language cannot be learned by watching TV without any interaction.
It is for this reason that online classes with native speakers produce better results than passively watching an electronic media program.
You have a crucial role to play, too. Engaging a child’s parents has proven to improve motivation and create positive associations with foreign languages. Spanish lessons can be a great bonding experience for the whole family.
Don’t be afraid to practice Spanish with your child!
Regardless of your level, you can prepare a Spanish-language game. Keep a dictionary nearby and check the pronunciation online. You can find many online Spanish resources to use.
Mistakes as a Part of the Process
Learning diagrams for children tend to be U-shaped. It is common for children to make mistakes as they learn and create a rule-governed system as they perform their task. This is important to keep in mind in order to give corrective feedback in a positive way. You can always encourage your child while correcting his errors.
Positive reinforcement is important in the learning process. We want to avoid words such as “Wrong”, “No”, “Incorrect”. Instead, you can simply recast the correct answer. Simply repeat what the student said while subtly saying it the correct way. Make it sound natural, and as if you are contributing to the conversation.
The Nurturing Environment
Children learn best under the right conditions. Children’s affective needs must be met first.
Dr. Jeannette Vos, a Netherlands-born American doctor of education, spent many years researching the importance of surroundings in the process of language acquisition. According to her studies, healthy learning can only occur in a stress-free, nurturing environment.
Various researchers emphasize the importance of letting the child absorb the input first and discourage both parents and educators from forcing children to speak a foreign language when they are not ready. Every child develops differently, and each one should be treated as an individual.
Spanish for Children is a Strong, Global Player
If you are here, you probably already have your reasons for teaching your child Spanish.
We know so little about the Spanish language though, right?
Did you know that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world?
In addition, Spanish is an official language in 21 countries. Spanish’s Latin roots are another encouraging feature. Once kids learn Spanish, it is much easier for them to understand other languages with Latin roots such as French and Portuguese.
Moreover, Spanish skills improve your child’s work opportunities. Around the world, Spanish-speaking candidates are highly sought after by international companies.
If you’re thinking about teaching your child Spanish, check out our Spanish classes for kids. The are taught by native Spanish speakers.
The way we teach Spanish is fun and effective.
With us as Spanish Teachers, your child is learning a language in a comforting environment and without effort!
Stress free and fun!
We teach your kids by giving fun lessons, full of activities and encourage immersion. All you need is an internet connection and a computer.