Smart parents have smarter kids. They are also smarter when it comes to making the most of their money. There has never been a better time to give your child the gift of a grounding in a foreign language. One of the smartest things you could do as a parent is visit our store right now. This is a genuine sale and stocks really are limited.
Language literally re-writes and re-wires the brain. More than any other area of learning, the process of learning a language creates more synapses in the brain and dramatically increases the density of the grey matter of the brain. These are powerful changes that make a lifetime of difference.
The physical changes in the brain manifest with important intellectual developments:
The flow-in effect of learning a language impacts on virtually every area of life:
The AlphaTykes program is a program of materials that give you everything you need to teach your child French, Spanish or Italian. The program consists of 16 fun and interactive modules where your child will learn 50 words and phrases per module. That is 800 words and phrases across the 16 modules! Each module consists of a story book written specially for teaching young children a second language; a story book CD to provide the native pronunciation; flash cards for games and learning the key words and phrases; and an activity book for having fun and helping it all sink in.
All the materials are audio/visual/kinaesthetic ensuring that we cover all the bases so that children learn fast and retain for longer. The AlphaTykes program mimics the way a child learns their mother tongue, and introduces core phrases, colours, numbers and alphabet along with module topics that are fun for kids.
" My little granddaughter has been learning with AlphaTykes for about a year and it has been one of the most enriching experiences for her and for all the family. Every week she shares with us all the new Spanish words she learns, and it is just so lovely to see her calling things and counting numbers in other language, as well as see that her confidence has improved heaps (she was a shy girl) and also it is good to know she is learning something that will give her important skills in the future"
" My 4 year old has just finished her first module of the Spanish program, and is loving it. Her vocabulary has expanded. The materials come out most nights, with the flash cards, activity book and bingo game a lot of fun. Definitely recommended"
"I've been helping Miss 4 learn to read. It has helped with her self-esteem & it's also made me feel alive! We, can now continue our journey of learning a new language together, go to France and show off what we've learnt! Thanks to AlphaTykes, where the sky's the limit! "
"AlphaTykes is a fantastic language learning tool, that is easy to teach my daughter Spanish. My daughter LOVES the stories. And I love hearing her teach her friends Spanish. Thank you AlphaTykes"
"I love that you can start young with toddlers and let them experience bilingualism even if the parents don't speak a language other than English... it really gives them a head start in what is becoming a global society, plus it's fun with songs, stories and games! I wish I had done AlphaTykes as a kid! "
"My daughter learnt Spanish with AlphaTykes when she was in kindy. Four years later we still have the books and CDs and she still proudly tells people that she can speak Spanish. We are looking into a Spanish immersion program for her in high school to build on the skills and confidence she already has. There are so many benefits of bilingualism, from social to intellectual to prevention of diseases such as Alzheimers later in life, you really can't go wrong giving children an opportunity such as AlphaTykes"
"My daughter learns a second language with AlphaTykes and she comes home and teaches her brothers! Alphatykes helps the children learn through music and movement! Two passions of mine!"
"I love that it teaches kids languages through songs and fun giving them a love for learning rather than making it a chore. It exposes them early while they are still receptive to the sounds of another language"
"My son started French lessons at 18 months it was his favourite part of the week. He had a French week at kindy and proudly took his cards and his knowledge along. Even though French is not spoken at home he learned to read and write in French with the help of AlphaTykes!"
"I love AlphaTykes because the lessons are easy to follow and it doesn't matter what age the children are, it's easy to learn and it's a lot of fun! I also started to learn Spanish as this was being taught to the children in the center I am working at. The teachers make it fun and exciting that the children cannot wait for AlphaTykes day! I enjoy it very much as well and now my little sister wants to learn another language from AlphaTykes! "
"My 2 and 3 year olds are both learning Spanish. We absolutely love the AlphaTykes flash cards. We have started with the 'food' pack and have them stuck up in our kitchen. My daughters are always looking at them and asking questions :) "
Good question! This is a common concern for Australian parents, but it is a little like learning to swim. Should we introduce children to the water to learn to swim when they are still finding their feet on the ground with walking and running? Or should we wait until they are experts in walking and running? Most Australians take the view that ‘earlier is better’ and include swimming lessons as an essential part of early childhood development because it enhances coordination, builds confidence and is paramount for safety. Plus it’s fun!
When it comes to language, it is a similar experience. Children have an amazing capacity to learn and they can easily tackle multiple languages without confusion. In fact, learning additional languages enhances their learning. Australia is unique because we are predominantly monolingual, but elsewhere around the world children are growing up learning multiple languages as second nature. As a fact, more than 150 countries are officially bilingual and it is estimated that more than 50% of the world’s population speaks at least 2 languages fluently.
Let’s look at a specific example from Europe. Finland routinely ranks in the top tier of the most developed education systems in the world, calculated based on various measures including international test scores, graduation rates and number of students going on to tertiary education. In Finland, children learn Finnish as their native tongue, and progressively learn English, Swedish and German, with many students fluent in 4 languages by the time they leave high school. And as shown by the ranking of Finnish students in the global top tier, learning multiple languages clearly doesn’t confuse them.
When children are learning a second language (and indeed when adults are learning a second language), one thing you may observe is substitution between languages, for instance, “My sombrero is rojo.” (My hat is red). Some parents think that this substitution shows the child is confused because they are mixing languages, but actually it demonstrates emerging mastery of the language. In this example, the child knows English and is gradually substituting what they are learning in Spanish in to the sentence. As they learn more, they’ll substitute more until they can speak full sentences.
Language is one of those things where the early bird really does get the worm. The earlier a child learns another language, the greater the advantages.
Countless research studies clearly show that the best time for learning a second language is in early childhood. In fact, the window for learning a language begins to close as early as 6 years old! This means if we wait until school, we’ve missed the golden opportunity.
While it is never too late to learn a language, young children have an advantage in that they have a stronger likelihood of developing native-like proficiency in their second language, particularly in pronunciation and syntax. This means that the earlier a person learns their second language, the more they will speak like a native (which is the holy grail of language acquisition). The older the person learning, the more difficult for them to replicate the unique sounds of a language, such as rolled ‘r’s or guttural sounds, and the harder for them to follow idiosyncratic rules of grammar and syntax. Think about it… we all know people who have been speaking English for half of their life but still have strong accents or funny ways of saying things. These people almost always learnt English a little later in life, as a teenager, perhaps (or they learnt it from a non-English speaker).
In addition to developing native-like proficiency, learning a language also impacts cognitive development, which creates intellectual advantages, and also improves communication and social skills. Why wait to take advantage of these benefits? Learning a second language is the gift that keeps on giving, and the sooner you start the more you gain.
We live in a multicultural society where learning a second language will open up a world of possibilities for travel and career. But other than this, learning a second language has powerful and far reaching benefits. Learning a second language re-writes and re-wires the brain. It increases the number of synapses being used preventing them from being lost and increases the density of the grey matter in the brain. These cognitive enhancements result in intellectual advantages such as improved memory, faster decision making, enhanced divergent thinking and increased creativity. These changes also lead to significant social advantages such as a love of learning, greater understanding of their mother tongue, improved academic performance, improved creativity, improved proficiency in learning additional languages, improved communication skills, improved social skills, greater confidence and a broader world view and cultural acceptance.
It doesn't matter what language your child learns, they will still benefit from all of the cognitive, intellectual and social benefits, so from that perspective any language will do! But practically speaking, there are a few factors to consider in choosing the right language for you and your child so that you can get the best outcomes.
The first consideration is the usefulness of the language to the learner.
Is there a language that is personally meaningful and useful to your child? For instance, if you have an international family heritage, or a family member that speaks another language, or a plan to travel to certain countries, these are all good reasons to study a particular language.
If none of these things are relevant, consider the likely future usefulness of the language you are considering. In particular, it is worth thinking about how many people speak that language, and how geographically diverse the language is. For instance, Mandarin is certainly a commonly-spoken language, estimated to be spoken by more than 1 billion people, but it isn’t particularly well spread with only China, Taiwan and Singapore counting Mandarin as an official language.
Comparatively, Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the world, and the fastest growing, and spoken as an official language in 19 countries, from Argentina to Uruguay, as well as in Spain and the United States. Likewise, French is widely spoken with 17 countries using it as an official language, from Algeria to Switzerland, including multiple countries throughout Europe as well as Canada. Italian is more localised with only 6 countries speaking it as an official language, including Italy, Switzerland and Vatican City.
If all else was equal, we’d recommend Spanish or French as very practical, useful languages to learn.
The second consideration is the environment for learning.
For a child to learn a language, we need to create an environment where the child is exposed to the language as frequently as possible and has the opportunity to practice as much as possible. Ideally, we’re aiming for 4-5 hours of exposure per week. This includes hearing the language being spoken, reading books or listening to stories, listening to music, practicing speaking etc. The AlphaTykes program provides the resources to gain this practice and exposure through story books, CDs, flashcards for games, activity books and even wall displays and posters. Additional exposure can be gained through watching TV shows or kids programs in the language or with hints of the language (eg Dora the Explorer or Go Diego Go!), listening to music (eg Apple playlists), talking to people who speak the language (eg grandparents, neighbours, family friends etc), and playing games or apps in the language (check out the App Store for lots of choices). But the most important factor is what language you as a parent will be best able to reinforce.
If you already speak a language, that’s the best choice for you to try to teach your children. But if you are monolingual, as most Australians are, the best bet is to choose a language that you have a strong chance of being able to learn alongside your child (but slower and with more difficulty, because you know, you’re an adult so it’s harder for you).
For English-speaking parents, Spanish, French and Italian are good choices which is why AlphaTykes developed the program in these languages. They all use the English alphabet, which means we can read the script. They are all phonetic, which means that we have a good chance of being able to pronounce the words as they are written, as long as you know the sounds associated with each letter. And they all have overlap and familiarity to English, which gives us a headstart in vocabulary. For instance, Spanish has over 5000 words that are similar to English. Comparatively, learning languages that are tonal or use different scripts adds several levels of difficultly which reduces the chance of success in learning the language.
Physical development is just as important as cognitive, intellectual and social development in raising fit, healthy and well-rounded children. A second language has powerful and far reaching benefits. Learning a second language re-writes and re-wires the brain. It increases the number of synapses being used preventing them from being lost and increases the density of the grey matter in the brain. These cognitive enhancements result in intellectual advantages such as improved memory, faster decision making, enhanced divergent thinking and increased creativity. These changes also lead to significant social advantages such as a love of learning, greater understanding of their mother tongue, improved academic performance, improved creativity, improved proficiency in learning additional languages, improved communication skills, improved social skills, greater confidence and a broader world view and cultural acceptance.
Every day, parents encounter situations where their child doesn't agree with what is best for them. If given the choice, most kids would eat ice cream for dinner and watch TV all day. Lots of kids would resist eating their vegetables, brushing their teeth, going to bed, going to school, learning to swim, practicing their musical instrument and playing soccer. As a parent, you get to decide what future you want for your child and what activities you think will be important for their health and development. Luckily, the AlphaTykes program is designed especially for kids so that it is fun, interesting and enjoyable. After initial reluctance which is normal for a lot of children trying something new, kids find a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from learning a language, especially if they are learning alongside their parents. The window for learning a language really does start to close as early as 6 years old, so don’t wait another day before giving your kids a headstart in life.
Give your child the gift of a culture rich in tradition and literature. A language spoken on every continent and taught across the globe, French is known as the language of love for a very good reason.
Imagine your bambinos fluent in the language of the greatest cultural and artistic renaissance in human history, Italian. It's a language steeped in tradition, as expressive as it is gorgeous.
Another of the romance languages, Spanish is widely used in the modern business world. Join more than 350 million worldwide Spanish speakers in a tongue as rich and diverse as the culture that it developed from.
Smart parents start early. In fact, it's never too early to start developing your child's foreign language skills. There is even a strong correlation between the number of words a toddler hears each day and verbal intelligence at a later age. Learning another language actually improves English language skills.
Establish a language learning routine and by the time your child is six and above, this positive habit can put them as much as a year ahead of their peers. This age is when their language abilities become more complex, as their critical thinking begins to develop.
Between the ages of ten to twelve you'll see the benefits of learning a second language. It's also a great time to introduce a new language. A wealth of material is available to enhance the entertainment value of reading, speaking and learning to this age group.