Children are built to absorb information quickly. At any given moment, young people are absorbing new information about how to interact with the world. In school, they’re learning language, mathematics, socialization and everything in between. During this time, learning a second language is much easier, and quicker than learning a new language as an adult.
So we ask you – have you thought about enrolling your child into a language immersion program?

There are many benefits to learning a second language, even more so when living in a bilingual country. Not only will your child have the chance to explore a new language and a different culture, they will receive the many benefits that come with being bilingual in Canada. Many schools offer French Immersion programs that begin as early as kindergarten, and for those whose children are a bit older, there are also late immersion programs that begin at grade 7.

With all the different programs and opportunities for students in schools, enrolling your child into a language program is one of the most beneficial out there.

Promotes a Healthy Brain

Learning a second language has been proven to enhance many skills, and compared to those who only know one language, those who know two or more are more likely to have better memory and motorization skills, have better focus, concentration and attention span, as well as personal skills such as being more perceptive of surroundings, being more creative, and listening well to others. Learning new languages is one of the best exercises for the brain, challenging it not only by learning a new language, but in strengthening the primary language by having to associate new terms with what we already know.

Higher Performance in other Academic Areas

For students, getting good grades is a top priority in order to get into university to get a good job. Studies show that learning a second language heightens cognitive abilities, and thereby influences other areas of academic achievement. For students with a second language under their belt, it’s proven that they receive higher scores on standardized exams in math, in reading comprehension, and a better understanding of vocabulary than monolingual students. All simply because of knowing another language.

Deeper Understanding of Culture

Canadian culture is quite unique from North America. From coast to coast to coast, there are differences in the way we live, what we do for entertainment, and how we communicate. As a bilingual country, English and French come together to create a unique separation between cultures. Learning a second language is a great way to close the gap between Anglophone and Francophone cultures, and it will enhance your child’s ability to better understand not only how Canada works, but it will give them a leg up on understanding how the world works. Being exposed to different sources of culture, such as film, music and literature in another language strengthens understanding of how the world works, and opens up the young mind.

Future Opportunities

Having command of both national languages in Canada means better employment opportunities in your child’s future. While well over half of Canadian companies find bilingualism to be an asset, knowing both French and English can be the difference between getting the job, and losing it to another person. Knowing a second language will even upgrade a yearly salary due to its advantage in communicating with clients and customers. Even if your child decides against using their second language in a career, it is still an important asset and the experience of being in an immersion program gives them an edge in the work force, something all employers are aware of.

Heightened Ability of Expression

Learning a second language isn’t just learning how to translate English into French or vice versa, it’s learning how to express yourself using a completely different set of words and meanings. It’s true that many languages lack the vocabulary to express a certain thought or idea. Understanding how to express oneself in another language is a tool that can alter our personality, depending what language we are speaking. Taking on another language is like learning a different form of dancing, you can express yourself diversely through different forms of movement. The same is true for language, with a diverse mindset we can develop other aspects of our personality that might otherwise be left unexplored.

Protecting the Brain Later in Life

It has been proven time and time again that for those who are bilingual have a delayed onset of dementia, along with other mental disorders caused by advancing age. While learning a second language, we are expanding certain areas of the brain that are unique to learning languages. In 2012, a study was conducted by the University of California that took data from 44 elderly participants who speak both Spanish and English. Those who had higher levels of proficiency in both languages were less likely to have an early onset of dementia. Seemingly, the higher the proficiency in dual languages, the longer the brain remains healthy and intact. Learning a new language, however, is not the key to curing dementia, however it helps the brain’s cognitive abilities to delay the onset, and to help the brain remain active with advancing age.

The benefits of bilingualism are astonishing, and if you’re looking to give your child an advantage in life, it would be a good idea to explore language immersion options in schools. From developing higher cognitive functions, strengthening their understanding of other academic disciplines, understanding different cultures, looking toward future opportunities, having the ability to express themselves, and protecting their brain later in life, there are virtually zero drawbacks to enrolling your child into a language immersion program.