Business Education The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual

The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual

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At La Jolla Montessori School, a bilingual preschool in La Jolla, teachers focus on dual language immersion starting at age three. Research shows that thinking, listening, learning, understanding, justifying, questioning and paying close attention are all cognitive benefits of being bilingual. Plus, there are academic, social and emotional reasons, too.

At our bilingual preschool in San Diego, every student learns English and Spanish throughout toddler, primary and Kindergarten programs. During this three year period, our graduating K students build verbal fluency before they can even read or write.

As a result, the verbal, numerical and abstract reasonings that build critical thinking are practiced. And what our kids learn–before elementary school–will last a lifetime.

In an NIH article written by Dr. Viorica Marian, she describes the cognitive benefits of being bilingual.

Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another. In addition, bilingualism has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum. Bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline.”

Based on research, the brain can change throughout one’s life span by growing new cells, making new connections and increasing its size. The earlier your child learns, the more teachers can improve your child’s cognitive functions. Dual language learning is one way to achieve that.

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Bilingualism Fulfills Needs, Builds Ties and Improves Critical Thinking

Sixty percent of Europe’s population speaks two or more languages. Certainly, bilingualism fulfills a need because millions of people from dozens of countries conduct business together. But bilingualism also builds social and emotional ties with others regardless of country.

Additionally, the cognitive control required to manage speaking multiple languages seems to broadly affect neurological functions that transfer beyond language. For example, bilingualism:

  • changes the way neurological structures process information
  • may alter neurological structures themselves
  • seems to affect the brain’s structure with a higher volume of gray matter, and
  • helps recruit alternate brain networks to compensate for those that become damaged during aging.

Importantly, in practical application, older bilinguals may enjoy improved memory as they age.

Plus, research findings show an ability to delay the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease like confusion, problem-solving and task completion.

Summary

It is comforting to recognize the many cognitive benefits of being bilingual. Surely, it’s a necessary tool for business and trade among people. But its social, emotional and long-term health benefits are every bit as exciting. At our bilingual preschool in San Diego, we are happy to give every toddler, primary and kindergartner the gift of dual language immersion—for today and tomorrow.

La Jolla Montessori School is located just two minutes south of UCSD near the intersection of I-5 and La Jolla Village Drive. Nearly 100 students attend our programs for children aged three to six.

Please visit the website for a virtual and live online group tour today.

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