Learning English from an early age has multiple benefits as it not only opens the door to new educational and professional opportunities in the future, but it is also an excellent opportunity to learn about other cultures and interact with new while fostering greater mental flexibility, a more tolerant attitude, and greater respect for diversity.
From a cognitive point of view, learning English stimulates the development of brain areas related to language and increases the volume of gray matter in the frontal and parietal lobes, the which are related to executive control, according to a study conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center. It is also a good training for memory, improves attention and stimulates critical thinking.
According to research carried out at the Islamic Azad University, the best stage to start studying English is from early childhood to around 10 to 12 years old. This is because in this period the infant brain has greater plasticity, so children learn more quickly and assimilate knowledge better. In fact, this flexibility allows them to learn English from home with help from parents.
7 strategies to teach English to children from the comfort of home
Teaching English from home helps to normalize the learning of a foreign language and motivates children to use more terms and expressions in their daily lives. Contrary to what many parents think, it is not necessary to be a native expert to teach English to children since there are different techniques and methods that can be applied to turn English classes at home into a fun and enriching experience.
1. Organize reading sessions in English
Reading with children is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with your family and, at the same time, teach them English. Whether you read aloud or your children, there are many children’s books in English that will improve the spelling of the little ones and help them become familiar with this language. The ideal is to start with interactive books with little text like “Where’s Spot?”, by Eric Hill, so that the little ones become familiar with the terms. As they gain vocabulary, you can introduce more complex readings like “Leaf”, by Sandra Dieckmann.
2. Turn learning into a game
There is no better way to teach English to children than through play, as a study carried out at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena showed. These researchers found that using the game as an educational resource to teach English encourages children’s interest, stimulates their attention and facilitates learning. In fact, there are tons of games out there to teach English to little ones, from puzzles with English terms and word associations to the traditional hangman or “Hangman” in English and guessing games like Pictionary.
3. Turn to music in English whenever you can
It is always a good time to listen to music in English, whether you are playing with the children, preparing a dessert for dinner together or enjoying an evening of dancing in House. Music is a simple and fun tool for children to develop their hearing and get used to the language while having a fun time. On the Internet you can find music in English for children, from interactive songs like “Hello, hello!” to more traditional songs like “Five little monkeys”. As the little ones master the vocabulary, you can also encourage them to sing the songs to practice their pronunciation.
4. Don’t forget movies and series in English
Children’s movies and series in English are also an excellent educational resource for children to learn English from home. In this way they will have an entertaining time while they improve their pronunciation, expand their vocabulary and learn to build new expressions. On the Internet or on streaming platforms you can find many children’s series and movies suitable for all learning levels, such as the series “Wallykazam” and “Arthur”, ideal for the little ones, or the iconic films “Shrek” and “Toy Story” in English for older children who already have a better command of the language.
5. Use the applications
On the Internet there are different fun applications to teach English to children, from applications to learn vocabulary and train pronunciation to interactive or spelling games. Children love these types of applications and they have the advantage that your children can use them on their own from a tablet, computer or smartphone. Ideally, you should look for applications that are adapted to the children’s level of English and to the objectives of their stage, whether you want to introduce new content or exercise what you already know. Some applications that may be useful are: “Learning Time with Timmy”, “Astrokids” and “Duolingo”.
6. Bet on online English classes for children
Another alternative for children to learn English at home is to bet on online schools such as Novakid, which has a specific study program for each age and adapted to the rhythm of child learning developed according to the CEFR. Children will love this experience since games are not lacking in the classes and each time they complete a level they receive a certificate that endorses their achievements, so that they do not lose motivation along the way. By having native teachers, the little ones will be able to improve their pronunciation and learn much faster because they work with the TPR method, which emphasizes the content with gestures, facial expressions and movements to make learning more fun .
7. Use everyday activities to exercise what you have learned
Everyday activities such as washing the dishes, making the bed or picking up toys can also be turned into an opportunity to exercise children’s knowledge of English. Take advantage of these moments to ask your children what different objects such as spoon, bear or sheet are called in English or teach them new terms that they do not yet know. You can also ask them to tell you what they learned in their last Novakid class or to sing their favorite song in English, an easy way to test their knowledge and reinforce the content they learn daily without overwhelming them too much.