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Global Children Become Global Citizens

Apr 21, 2008
Here are some fun stats to bank away for future cocktail party conversation. More than 28 million people in our country speak Spanish as their native language. Learning Spanish opens up the door of communication with more than 350 million people worldwide. Adults who enjoyed being bilingual for a majority of their lives experience a four-year delay of the onset of dementia and dementia like symptoms. Should a parent begin to introduce a second language to their young child before the age of five, that child will exhibit early reading skills.

The list goes on and on. As a mom of three bilingual children and a bilingual educator of thousands of children between the ages of birth and ten I keep up on the latest and greatest statistics that relate to teaching languages to young children and how bilingual and multi-lingual children excel in life. It is my passion. It is my business to know these things so that I can relay the information to fellow parents in an easy and understandable manner.

Dora the Explorer and Diego on Nickelodeon, Dragon Tales on PBS, and Clay on Disney have all shown parents around the United States that young children are able to acquire a second language before the elementary school years, even before the preschool years. In fact the latest research suggests that it is just as easy for a baby to learn two words for one item as it is to learn one word for that same item. That little baby hearing the word bread can easily listen to and learn pan (pahn) as he stares at the loaf of freshly baked bread.

Here is where the fun part comes in for parents. You know your toddler is absorbing everything around her like a sponge. You have experienced your preschooler having an incredible memory for even complex lyrics to songs or sequences in his favorite book. Now all you need to do is take that innate sense of curiosity, that window of opportunity for language learning that we all know exists between birth and ten, and that amazing cognitive development spurt that occurs during the first five years of life and mold your child into a global child who in turn evolves into a global citizen.

It is almost embarrassing that our country does not provide parents, caregivers or teachers the tools to raise a generation of children prepared for what is obviously a very global economy. The future our young children face requires the acquisition of more than just English as a way to communicate and an understanding of other cultures and customs experienced by the people in their communities and in their world. The task to provide them a jump start on garnering these skills and tools has been handed to us as parents, as the first teachers our children encounter along the journey of life. This responsibility of raising a generation of global citizens is up to us as individuals; whether you are a parent, care provider, educator or all three. We know that the politicians of the United States and the system they continue to manifest will not provide for early language learning or for raising the cultural awareness of our youth.

Parents can make this happen! Teachers can make this part of their daily classroom routine! And you do not have to be bilingual yourself to give the gift of a second language. Use the internet, use word of mouth from other parents and teachers who have experienced success with certain products and techniques to begin the second language journey every young child should experience. The solutions are out there. You simply need to open your mind and your heart to embrace what is sure to be the key to giving your child a lifetime of language learning skills.
About the Author
Beth Butler is the founder of The Boca Beth ProgramScoop your child up onto your lap and Order online or call toll free 1.877.825.2622 today!
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