Bilingual Education & Baby Brain Development

A bilingual education experience has a positive correlation with a baby’s cognitive and problem solving development.

Science indicates that babies’ brains are the best learning machines ever created, and that infants’ learning is time-sensitive. Their brains will never be better at learning a second language than they are between 0 and 3 years of age.

Patricia Kuhl, co-director of I-LABS and a UW professor of speech and hearing sciences
bilingual education with parent and child reading together

Bilingual Experience Improves Cognitive Abilities

Research shows that bilingual children have a better working memory than children who speak only one language. Bilingual children also show better executive functioning skills. This includes the the ability to think flexibly, focus attention, and filter out distractions. One study even found that dual language learners have an improved ability to empathize and see others’ perspectives.

Research scientists from the University of Washington Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences published a study that shows infants can ignite the learning of a second language through early exposure to a bilingual education environment. Babies exposed to a second language in the right learning environment develop dual native language ability much earlier and easier than previously thought.

It Only Takes One Hour A Day

The findings also reveal that even babies from monolingual homes can develop bilingual abilities at an early age when exposed to a second language for one hour a day. The method emphasizes social interaction, play, and high quality and quantity of language from the teachers. Tests show that babies retained language learnings throughout the study and both languages grew without negatively affecting each other.

The Benefits of Early Exposure To A Second Language

  • Ability to communicate with more people and cultures
  • Expands the working memory
  • Improves cognitive abilities and problem solving skills
  • Increases empathy towards others’ perspectives

In Conclusion

Whether your household speaks one or multiple languages, there is no reason not to expose your child to a second language early.

Check Out Our Chinese English Baby Books