Given Canada’s diverse cultural backgrounds and the continued globalization of the international economy, having multi-lingual skills is a definite asset to have. Although Canada is officially a bi-lingual nation, only 17.5% of the population is reportedly bi-lingual as of the 2011 census. Contrast that with the fact that nearly 50% of the world’s population is bi-lingual or tri-lingual.
There are numerous benefits to having capability of speaking more than one language. Research strongly supports the benefits of bilingualism in language, literacy, social, and cognitive development. For example, bilingual children have performed better than monolingual speakers on measures of analytical ability, concept formation, cognitive flexibility, and metalinguistic skills (Espinosa, 2008; Hakuta, Ferdman, & Diaz, 1987; Roseberry-McKibbin & Brice, 2005). Other benefits include:
- Better able to focus their attention on relevant information and ignore distractions
- Bilingual individuals have been shown to be more creative and better at planning and solving complex problems than monolinguals.
- The effects of aging on the brain are diminished among bilingual adults.
- Your interactions with people of different cultures go deeper.
- Your self-expression excitingly takes on a multitude of forms.
Besides the self-improvement aspect associated with learning languages, there is evidence to suggest that knowing multiple languages can help boost one’s career and earnings. In Canada, employment rates are higher for French/English bilinguals than monolinguals and Canadians who speak both official languages have a median income nearly 10% higher than that of those who speak English only, and 40% higher than that of those who speak French only (hanen.org).
Chapter1 Daycare offers foreign language training using a simple play and learn (sing along) technique in Spanish. This method of training is based on the Principle of Simultaneous Acquisition, which occurs when a child is raised bilingually from birth, or when the second language is introduced before the age of three (10).