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Many children grow up hearing and using more than one language. Knowing two languages has some significant linguistic and socio-cognitive advantages. 

Young bilingual children: 

  • tend to be better at understanding the beliefs and communication needs of others, at problem-solving, and being able to consider two interpretations of an event at the same time; 

  • have higher scores on cognitive ability tests that demand attention and control (e.g., mental flexibility, non-verbal problem-solving tasks);

  • have better literacy skills (if the alphabets are the same).

In Canada, large numbers of children in public schools speak English or French as a second language. Understanding the impact of these language backgrounds on children’s cognitive and educational futures is essential.