Learning a Second Language is Great, But Learning a Third Is Even Better

Benefits of Preschool Multilingualism | KSS Immersion Preschool

Children with bilingual brains are more confident, develop better friendships, and perform better in English class. But what about kids who learn three languages during early childhood development?

New research from the University of Tokyo suggests ‘multilinguals’ have even greater neurological skills than those who know only two languages. When someone has mastered a third language, it’s easier to learn a fourth, or fifth, or sixth because of something called the “cumulative-enhancement model of language acquisition.” And with it comes life advantages like a high-paying career and the chance to travel the world.

What the Research Reveals About Multilingualism

Researchers discovered brain differences between those who knew a second language and those who had learned a third, with portions of the left-frontal lobe more active in the multilingual volunteers. These participants understood the content and meaning of sentences better than the bilingual volunteers because of advanced neural capabilities.

“For multilinguals, the pattern of brain activation is similar to that for bilinguals, but the activation is much more sensitive and much faster,” says Professor Kuniyoshi L. Sakai, a world-renowned neuroscience expert.

Further Language Learning

Multilingualism requires command of different vocabularies, word sounds, grammar rules, and sentence structures than bilingualism. So it’s a challenge at first. But after learning a third language, mastering additional languages becomes an easier prospect because of the cumulative-enhancement model of language acquisition.

“Bilinguals only have two points of reference,” adds Sakai. “Multilinguals can use their knowledge of three or more languages in their brains to learn another new one.”

Other research also reveals the benefits of learning more than two languages, such as advanced decision-making skills, greater cognitive flexibility, and a better understanding of how language (and the world) works. Then there are lifestyle advantages associated with multilingualism, such as high-paying careers and travel opportunities.

It seems the possibilities are endless for preschoolers that learn a third language like Spanish.

Final Word

Research suggests that multilinguals find it easier to acquire language skills, and these skills bring all kinds of benefits. If your preschool child already speaks a second language, consider a third language like Spanish for even greater success in life.

KSS Immersion Preschool is a language immersion preschool where children aged 2-6 can learn Spanish as a third language. Learn more about enrolling your child at KSS Preschool in San Jose, Oakland, Walnut Creek or Albany! 

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS!

Combining a quality early childhood education with a Spanish immersion program gives our students a leg up in their education and their lives. For parents who value multilingualism – beginning their child's formal learning with an immersion preschool is a natural fit. During this time, children’s brains are hard-wired for language learning and pick it up naturally. Bilingual children expand their awareness of the world and gain significant cognitive benefits. For students from Spanish-speaking homes, a Spanish-immersion education helps keep the family’s cultural heritage alive. There are many benefits of multilingualism and we are proud to support our students on their journey.

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