In 2016, a study reported that 22% of children in the United States speak a language other than English at home, and the percentage of U.S. children speaking multiple languages is expected to grow. Many early education leaders are now pushing for language class requirements throughout American elementary schools. One California educator predicted that by the year 2040, 75% of Californian children would be proficient in more than one language. Age of Learning, one of the leading education technology producers and creators of the award-winning program ABCmouse Early Learning Academy, understands the academic advantages a second language can give to young children and has begun to expand globally by offering an ABCmouse English language learning app.
China was the first foreign market Age of Learning entered with its 2018 partnership with Tencent, the Chinese internet conglomerate. The companies worked closely together to launch a new ABCmouse English learning program in China, an expert-designed immersive language learning product that provides Chinese children with an essential foundation for English conversational fluency and literacy. The companies made the app available on all major platforms, including iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, and computers. It can be accessed at abcmouse.qq.com and from all major app stores in China.
In 2109, Age of Learning partnered with internet services giant Rakuten to bring its ABCmouse English learning program to families in Japan, and recently announced the release of a new Rakuten ABCmouse English learning app, which makes learning English as a second language even easier.
Recent research is validating Age of Learning’s approach language learning generally, and specifically the teaching of English with its ABCmouse English learning apps. A randomized control trial in China found that the ABCmouse English learning app was highly effective in helping young Chinese children learn English.
Age of Learning has plans to continue expanding its digital language learning products to numerous countries to better enable children around the globe to learn English as a second language and benefit from speaking multiple languages. Below, Age of Learning will discuss the various educational benefits learning a second language can have.
Help Build a Foundation
There are numerous benefits to learning a second language. However, perhaps the most important is the foundation a second language gives to children. Studies have shown that children who learn another language before the age of five are more inquisitive when learning and more likely to be receptive to classroom activities. Furthermore, knowing multiple languages makes learning a new language easier. Children who are learning their second language, on average, find it more difficult than bilingual children learning a third language.
Appreciation for Different Cultures
Children who have learned two or more languages have shown a greater amount of empathy to their classmates and respect for other cultures. Bilingual children frequently have positive associations with foreign cultures, specifically cultures that speak the child’s second language. The unique experience of learning a second language helps children engage with the world in ways they may not have been able to otherwise.
There are many cognitive benefits to learning a second language that can directly affect a child’s academic performance. Various studies have shown that bilingual children will outperform their classmates in most tests, including reading, writing, and math. Additionally, bilingual children also tend to score higher on standardized tests. This is credited to a second language’s ability to help improve problem-solving, listening skills, memory, critical thinking, and overall concentration.