Bilingual Kids Are Smarter. Start Early.

2008-03-31

My dad’s first language was French. I took French throughout elementary school and continued with a couple of courses into university.

While I don’t consider myself bilingual, I know enough French to be able to put my bike on a train in Lyon and know that it can be safely stored in Paris until I arrive a week later.

I call it functionally bilingual. I think it’s one of the most important gifts that my parents gave me – the gift of being able to communicate in another language.

The New York Times had a recent op/ed suggesting that bilingual people are smarter.

“Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.” [NYT]

That should be enough for any alpha parent to jump on the bandwagon. So when should parents get their kids into second language studies? When is a good time for kids to start them learning?

Short answer: it’s never too early.

More after the jump.

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