The importance of language learning at an early age

Early childhood research has shown that the ability to learn languages is at its peak between birth and 6 years of age. Shortly after, the ability to learn a language quickly diminishes. This is largely due to neurological changes occurring during this critical period. The brain of a young child has twice as many connections, called synapses, than an adult. If these synapses are not refined and strengthened, they disappear through a process called pruning and can never be reestablished. Therefore, a young child’s mind figuratively “soaks up” information and can easily learn not only one, but several languages.

For more information about early language acquisition and research, visit the following organizations:

  • Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
  • Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
  • National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL)

Immersion/Early Language Learning Resources/Links/Info

http://www.carla.umn.edu/immersion/index.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3794479.stm

http://globalteachinglearning.com/home/home.shtml

http://www.adfl.org/resources/lang_brochure.pdf

http://www.discoverlanguages.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3651

http://www.cal.org/topics/fl/preK12.html