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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Child development

Inspired to teach multiple languages

Patricia Kuhl’s research reassures and inspires me [“Infants learn earlier than thought,” Local News, Feb. 3].

As a parent, it’s nice to know how much of a difference we make in our children’s lives by talking to them and playing with them. It’s also inspiring to know that we can help our children embrace the world by providing them opportunities to interact with people who speak other languages.

Parents who have a native language other than English can feel empowered to play with their children in their own language. English-speaking families can seek out opportunities to expose their children to other languages and cultures. Starting early is clearly the key.

I founded Sponge, a children’s language center, based on these principles. Watching our native-speaking teachers sing, dance and play with babies and children, it’s clear how powerful a personal relationship is in child learning. A special bond grows between the children and the teacher and the children and their parents, as they embrace a second (or third) language and culture together.

Ideally, our children will continue to grow up ready to embrace diversity in the world in a new way.

I look forward to the next groundbreaking round of early-learning research and the impact it will have.

— Jackie Friedman Mighdoll, Seattle

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