In a city that is as multicultural as Singapore, it’s no surprise that many children are being raised to be bilingual. In fact, bilingualism is often touted as the cornerstone of Singapore’s language policy, which emphasizes the use of English and the student’s mother tongue in the education system. While English serves as the nation’s working language, individuals must still learn Mandarin, Malay, or Tamil to strengthen their values and sense of belonging to their culture.
On top of this national initiative, however, many families within and outside the Lion City are preferring that their children be raised with growing proficiency in more than one language. Children can be enrolled in an international school Singapore parents trust not only to provide their children with the option to learn a foreign language, but also to offer an excellent bilingual learning environment where students can develop a deeper appreciation for the languages that they are acquiring. There are many good reasons why families would want their children to grow up bilingual, among which are the following:
The Parents Speak Different Languages, Which They Want Their Children to Learn
To begin with, many families are inherently multicultural, especially in Singapore. The country’s open-minded approach to globalization and integration and the ubiquity of the internet have made it much easier for individuals to find lifelong partners outside of their local communities. There are many families where parents have different native languages or use a common language to communicate with each other and their children. To make it much easier for family members to connect with each other, parents would want to raise their children to be familiar with their own mother tongue. This encourages them to bring up bilingual children. It’s also a motivator for them to look for bilingual academic programs that can cater to their specific needs and reinforce the principles that they have when raising their multicultural children.
The Family Lives in a Community Where Different Languages Are Commonly Used
Another factor why parents choose bilingual education for their children is the community that they belong to. If their family primarily uses a particular language and the people in their general location use another, then they would want to speak the same language as their neighbors. Doing so will help them assimilate better to their surroundings and give them a better chance of smoothing out issues that can be caused by inefficient communication and the lack of reliable translation services. By being exposed to the locality’s common tongue and retaining mastery of their native language, children can maintain a strong connection with their roots while having the ability to foster friendships with other people.
Growing Up Bilingual Offers Children Lifelong Cognitive and Educational Benefits
The cognitive benefits of growing up bilingual also play a significant role in encouraging families to raise children who are fluent in more than one language. Researchers believe that compared to monolinguals, children who are exposed to more than one language have better attention spans and task-switching capabilities. This is because a bilingual person’s language systems are always active and competing, and this enables the person to regularly practice and quickly master the control for the said mechanisms. In addition to this, children who are raised bilingual display improved attention to detail, capability to easily access newly learned words, and better conflict-resolution skills. These qualities offer a significant advantage to both students and active members of the workforce.
The Family Wants to Be Able to Immerse Themselves Better into Different Cultures
Families that will be moving to another country or those who are planning to stay in a place that uses a different language from their mother tongue can benefit from providing their children with bilingual education. It’s only natural for parents to want to see their children thrive in their new environment, and bilingual education can help families do just that. If children are raised knowing the language of their eventual home country or with a working knowledge of the language of the places that they’ll often visit, then they won’t have a hard time immersing themselves in the culture of their new environment. They can hit the ground running and be able to understand the new place they are in at a much deeper level. This, in turn, gives them the chance to acknowledge and appreciate the new opportunities that they’ve been presented with in their new home or vacation spot.
These are just some of the practical reasons why families in and out of Singapore choose to raise their children in a multicultural environment and acquire a language other than their mother tongue. Bilingual education benefits lifelong learners of all ages, especially in a highly globalized world. It’s an option that many parents should seriously consider for their children, especially if they’re aiming to bring up kids who will thrive no matter where they find themselves in.