Language is livelihood

I met a six-year-old boy at the Festival of Education in March whose mother was excited to tell me that he was learning Spanish. I decided to show him the translation feature in one of our books, and saw his eyes light up when we landed on the Arabic translation. “I can count to two in Arabic!” he exclaimed. And he did. For me, the joy was compounded by his mother’s surprise. She had no idea her six-year-old child had looked into learning Arabic on the internet! At Kiwa we talk a lot about the idea of technology being an enabler, and it’s moments like this that remind me just how true it is. The way I see it, we’re not just enabling language learning, we’re enabling livelihood. More than 150 studies since the 1960s show that bilingual children perform better than their peers in cognitive tasks. Raising a bilingual child might be difficult in a mono-lingual household, but fluency is actually not required! Studies also show that any language learning is beneficial, and the longer a language is studied, the better. So let’s make sure we get language into the hands of more children as early as we possibly can. We’ll do our part!