Should Kids Learn French?

From childhood, my mom communicated in French to me while my dad spoke the little Spanish he understands, although both parents are Yorubas. My mom understands French better because her school took them on a few weeks vacation to a French community.

The impact of that vacation is lifelong, which she passed unto me as well. When we have visitors, she often speaks French to me. This usually ends in laughter, while the visitor tries to decode what we are saying.

This arouse a great interest to learn more about French, in me. During my school days at the Polytechnic, where I studied Mass Communication, before falling in love with teaching, I was offered an option to choose a language of study: Yoruba or French. Since I could speak my local dialect already, I decided to choose French, to enable me communicate better with my mom, so I thought!

That decision became a valuable asset that has helped me generally, even as an Educational Administrator. It has been easier evaluating French teachers working with me and I sometimes step in to teach French lessons, in the absence of a French teacher.

Recently, I started teaching my 4-year old daughter simple communication in French, and it is amazing how fast she is learning and using the new words in her everyday conversation. She is also learning to speak Yoruba and Bini, her local dialects.

So, here are reasons you should encourage your children to learn French from an early age, as identified by

It’s often easier to learn a new language at a young age. 

Anyone who’s tried learning any language as an adult can attest to how challenging it is. Kids’ brains are generally better at processing and absorbing new languages without conscious effort.

“Kids this age are developing language skills rapidly, and they quickly absorb whatever they hear,” says Erika Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor of speech and language pathology at Columbia University Teachers College, in New York City.

“They can learn to understand new words in two different languages at an incredibly fast rate.”

It will build their key emotional capacities. 

Emotional intelligence is a term used to describe the interrelated capacities in perceiving, expressing, understanding and regulating emotion. 

Some studies show that learning another language helps children build empathy, which is a primary component of emotional intelligence.

It can increase their understanding of culture.

Cultural competency is the ability to communicate effectively with individuals from a diversity of cultures.

Learning French certainly equips kids with the mechanics to communicate in another language, but it can also expose them to new perspectives and help raise their awareness of other cultures.

It allows them to communicate with a larger cross-section of people. 

While English has become a widely spoken language worldwide, having the ability to communicate with French speakers in their native tongue allows for more relationships and experiences—and we’re not just talking about in France. Native French speakers live all over the world, from North America, to Africa, the Pacific, Europe and the Caribbean.

French is the official language in 29 countries, not counting a number of other areas of the world with significant French-speaking populations. Now that’s a round-the-world trip!

It provides opportunities down the road. 

We all want the kids in our lives to be successful and fulfilled. And in today’s global economy, bilingualism is a major asset for job-seekers.

When your child becomes fluent in French, it can expand their professional opportunities down the road.

French and English language development work together.

Some parents might be concerned that learning another language will confuse or delay their child’s English language development, but there’s actually no need to worry.

It makes it easier to learn other languages

Learning French early will equip kids with skills and knowledge that can apply to learning other languages. If your child has learned French, they’ve already acquired some strategies that work for them. In addition, there may be cross-language similarities that make vocabulary and comprehension easier.

Even if your child is resistant to learning French at first, there are a variety of strategies you can utilize to get and keep them interested. Believe me—they’ll look back on their childhood and be thankful for the language skills that they developed. This is one investment that yields many returns.

Speaking two languages is like any other skill. You need a lot of practice to do it well. Without practice, your child will have a harder time using both languages.

You can sign up into our Online French-Speaking Community for children ages 3 – 12. Click here For further enquiry

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