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.