Regardless of whether you speak a second or even third language, you may hope your child develops that valuable skill. Our advice? Get them started today! Early childhood education sets the platform for a child’s learning journey; and each subsequent stage of education relies on that platform as a springboard to success. Language learning is one way to add an extra dimension, in the form of lifelong benefits for their future.
Benefits of early childhood education in language
Here are just a few of the well-documented advantages in language learning for kids:
- Bilingual children have been shown to learn faster and easier.
- They develop better problem-solving skills and creative thinking abilities.
- They find it easier to connect with other cultures.
- Children with the ability to speak two or more languages also tend to have better career opportunities in adulthood.
Where to get started
The Hong Kong Institute of Languages (HKIL) has taught young learners, students and adults in Hong Kong for well over 30 years. For children aged three to 12 years, the institute currently offers seven languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese.
The objective of these seven different language streams is naturally the same: to enable children of all ages (or adults in HKIL’s many courses for older learners) to communicate in another language. But it goes well beyond that. It’s also about the notion of “plurilingualism”, to employ a buzzword! When you learn a language, you also learn a culture. If a child has access to multiple different cultures, their thinking – and, by extension, their education – is enriched. It opens their minds to diversity.
HKIL caters to students of all levels – from a beginner who hasn’t seen a word in the new language, to an advanced student who may even speak the language in their home. And there are also specific focuses, including for teenagers who may want help with exam preparation for school. HKIL’s list of exam-prep courses is impressive, covering DELF, IGCSE, GCSE, IB, IELTS, SAT and more.
Learning is done by face to face in private and small group classes, as well as via online lessons. Students can swap between these different modes of learning, or select a blend of both if it’s more convenient.
The emphasis, what’s more, is on learning with speed and ease. That will be music to the ears of anyone worried that acquiring a second language could be too difficult. The HKIL team says: “Our mission is to offer an innovative learning experience that goes beyond traditional foreign language education through our approach to new pedagogy, where you can learn a new language faster and also easier.”
What if English isn’t my first language?
Hong Kong is a melting pot of cultures; the readers of Expat Living hail from every corner of the world. Many will have children whose first language isn’t English, yet who are attending English-speaking schools here. And many adults themselves may be keen to improve their language skills in the hands of a professional, qualified native-speaking teacher at HKIL.
If that sounds like you, you can take advantage of a special offer for Expat Living readers in June 2021, and enjoy 20 percent off English courses at the centre, along with a free trial lesson to get you started.
See more in our Kids section