Sensitive Period & Bilingual Benefits
Montessori believes that there is a sensitive period for language acquisition which is roughly from birth to about 6 years of age. The sensitive period refers to a 'windows of opportunity’ that nature flings open from one period, then gradually shut as the child gets older to the maturation of particular regions of the brain.
“The child passes through what may be called sensitive periods in his acquisition of language. There is a first period, in which the child’s sensitivity is directed towards the registering and fixing of the sounds that he hears. There is then the second period, in which the child registers not only the nomenclature (names) of things, but also the construction of the language.” - Maria Montessori
Children are born with the ability to learn and speak languages. Their minds can absorb anything as long as the opportunity to learn consistently presents itself, the effort of learning two languages is no more than one.
Through the years, there have been a lot of studies which show that bilingual education can lead to a number of benefits such as: increasing mental processing capacity and control over information processing; helping with the ability to multitask and problem solve; increasing mental flexibility; enhancing cognitive learning; improving one’s memory; increasing job opportunities and income for the future; and even reducing the chance of dementia later on in life!!!