Babies Benefit from Learning Two Languages at the Same Time

Baby learning two languagesWe get fired up about the importance of early childhood education. The reason is simple. In the first seven years of a child’s life, their brains are firing up with learning—literally! Every new experience lights up the synapses in the brain and repetition makes those pathways stronger.
At the age of two, a child’s brain includes over a 100 trillion synapses. That’s 50 percent more than we have as adults. While these new connections form rapidly and are strengthened through repetition, the brain also prunes connections not used frequently. This strengthening and deleting that happens in young children’s brains ultimately helps them process thoughts and actions more quickly.

Babies’ brains ripe for learning more than one language

All that action in the brain makes children under the age of 7 the ideal age for engaging in new experiences, including learning more than one language. In fact, new research conducted with six-month-old infants in Singapore indicates a generalized cognitive advantage that emerges early in infants raised in a bilingual home and is not specific to a particular language.
“As adults, learning a second language can be painstaking and laborious,” explained co-author and Associate Professor Leher Singh in a press release. “We sometimes project that difficulty onto our young babies, imagining a state of enormous confusion as two languages jostle for space in their little heads. However, a large number of studies have shown us that babies are uniquely well positioned to take on the challenges of bilingual acquisition and in fact, may benefit from this journey.”
The study found that:

  • The infants raised in a bilingual home become bored with familiar images faster than children brought up in a monolingual home.
  • Those same infants paid more attention to new images when compared to babies living in a monolingual home.

So what does that all mean? According to the press release, previous studies show that a quicker response to familiar objects and interest in new objects can predict preschool developmental outcomes, including non-verbal cognition and expressive and receptive language. Think about it. Children learning two languages at the same time are exposed to the sounds of more than one language and must learn to distinguish between the two. This makes for more—and stronger—neural connections! See why we get fired up for early childhood education?

Rocking the bilingual brain

At Kindermusik, our ELL curriculum, ABC English & Me,  uses songs, story time, puppets, and Total Physical Response for English Language Learning. Research shows that music ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through Musichas a positive impact on learning a second language. For example, in class ELL students may hear and repeat the rhythmic language of a nursery rhyme or song multiple times. The repetition creates stronger connections in the brain and helps children learn to speak and later read in English as their English language phonological awareness increases.

Learn more about using music to learn English as a second language at

How music helps a teacher and children in Monaco live happily ever after

Munchkins Club Monoco 2Once upon a time, an educator who loved music moved from Milan, Italy, to bring the joy of learning English through music to children in a land faraway. Around the same time, an enchanting place called Monte Carlo Munchkins Club opened its doors to welcome children during their most formative years. As in any great fairytale, the two were destined to meet.

On the way to happily ever after

And, so begins the magical journey of Kindermusik educator Alina Botezatu, who explains in her own words how teaching children is changing her life and theirs!
“I love Kindermusik and seeing how the little curious minds assimilate information like sponges. It took some time to win the children’s trust, but now, as soon as they see me, they hug me and are excited about joining the class. This is such a wonderful feeling for a teacher. 
teaching ELL students“I’ve only been living in Monte Carlo and teaching Kindermusik at the Munchkins Club for a few months but I can already see the children’s progress in so many ways, including:

  • They learn new English words faster.
  • They sing many of the songs with me.
  • They dance and move their bodies in a more balanced way.
  • They know the stories we read together.
  • They have better concentration and listening abilities.
  • They are happy to take turns sharing instruments and helping each other and me during the class.

“It is always a lot of fun to sing and dance together. I’d like to thank my mentor, Laura D’Abbondanza Berryman, for all her invaluable support and my cute friends—the puppets—that make the children laugh and have fun during the lessons!”
Inauguration Monte-Carlo Munchkins Club 2013Of course, what fairytale is complete without a princess? Alina’s story includes Princess Charlene of Monaco, who visited the Munchkins Club to show her support for early childhood education.
We love happy endings. And, with Kindermusik, it is a good beginning with a happy ending that never ends!

Learn more about bringing Kindermusik’s ABC English & Me to your Language School, Nursery School, or Children’s Centre.

7 reasons for children under 7 to learn a second language

Je suis. Tu es. Il est. Nous sommes. If you studied a second language in high school or college, you probably know all about conjugating verbs. As teenagers or adults, learning the grammar rules of another language often form the foundation for second-language learning. However, teaching a second language to children looks completely different. After all, children under the age of 7 can’t read or write. However, young children are uniquely suited to learn another language. Here’s why:

7 reasons for children under 7 to learn another language

  1. Learning a second language under the age of 7 is cognitively as easy as learning a first language. Young children learn languages by listening to the sounds, structures, and intonation patterns around them. So young ELL students learn English the same way they learn their first language.
  2. Young English language learners learn to speak like a native speaker, without an accent.7 reasons for children under 7 to learn a second language
  3. Teaching English as a second language positively impacts the cognitive development in children. According to research, children who learn a second language experience better critical-thinking skills, enhanced spatial relations, and increased creativity when compared to their monolingual peers.
  4. Acquiring second-language fluency prepares children to live and work in a global society.
  5. Young English language learners experience a boost in the language and literacy abilities of their first language, including vocabulary development. Added bonus: this advantage continues to broaden as children grow older.
  6. Children who learn a second language exhibit enhanced attention skills when compared to monolingual peers.
  7. Learning a second language at an early age increases children’s confidence and teaches them to love learning. 

ESL curriculum uses English songs for kids (and more!)

Our ESL curriculum builds on our more than 35 years of teaching young children. Through English songs for kids, story time, movement activities, and puppets, young ELL students learn English in a fun and engaging environment using research-proven methods. Plus, enrollment includes access to Kindermusik@Home where parents can support the English language learning at home where a child can continue to naturally acquire language skills.
Kindermusik@Home ESL activityTry this sample Kindermusik@Home activity. The Just Me! music video incorporates a multi-sensory teaching approach to support visual, auditory, and tactile learning.

Learn more about Kindermusik’s English Language Learning curriculum, ABC English & Me. 

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area. 


Let’s call the whole thing early language development!

Are you familiar with the old George and Ira Gershwin song, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”? They wrote it for the 1937 film Shall We Dance, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Sing with us:

You like potato and I like potahto

You like tomato and I like tomahto

Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto.

Let’s call the whole thing off.”

In the song, the two characters sing about their differences, primarily around the way they pronounce certain words. We love that song (and movie clip) even more after reading a new early language development study from the University of Toronto.

Toddlers and early language development

In the early language development study, researchers set out to investigate if and how children in the early stages of learning their first language come to understand words spoken in different regional variants of their native language. (You like potato and I like potahto!”) For example, English spoken in England sounds different from English spoken in Australia or the United States, not to mention the multiple dialects found within regions of countries.
The team found that toddlers are remarkably good at comprehending speakers who talk with regional accents, even if the accent is new to the children. Although initially in the study, children as young as 15 months old could not comprehend unfamiliar accents, they quickly learned to understand after hearing the speaker for a short time.
“Fifteen-month-olds typically say relatively few words, yet they can learn to understand someone with a completely unfamiliar accent,” explained Elizabeth K. Johnson, associate professor with the University of Toronto’s Psychology department in a press release.  “This shows that infants’ language comprehension abilities are surprisingly sophisticated.”

ELL students and early language development

While the University of Toronto study focused on a toddler’s first language, it highlighted the incredible language-learning abilities of very young children. Children under the age of 8 who learn a second language are more likely to speak like a native speaker and also show marked improvements in their first language. Our ESL curriculum, ABC English & Me, uses English songs for kids in an immersion environment filled with music and movement.  In addition to the ESL curriculum in the classroom, ABC English & Me includes materials for families to use together at home to support a parent’s role as a child’s first teacher and further develop English language skills. Try this ESL activity for kids:

Find & Count: Where’s the Frog? 

Kindermusik@HomeYoung children love to search for hidden or missing items. Following the English language directions in the video, and then finding (and saying hello to!) the frogs, fish, and ducks, provides young ELL students much-needed feelings of mastery and success in English.

Learn more about bringing ABC English & Me and the power of music to your school!


Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell who prefers tomatoes but will eat a tomahto or two on occasion. 

ELL students learn through movement

Children are the real movers and shakers of this world. Watch a toddler practice walking, supervise group activities for kids, or even catch your young children in your arms as they run to welcome you home, and you will see there is a whole lot of moving happening! From birth, children learn to move and move to learn.
Head Shoulders Knees & ToesIn the world of ESL curriculum development, we understand that English language learning is best acquired when closely linked to a gross- or fine-motor skill activity. Learning through actions or through Total Physical Response (TPR) reinforces new and old language. Research shows that TPR positively impacts memory and recall in language learning. Plus, physical activities for kids makes the learning all the more fun—whether learning how to roll a ball or how to say “ball” in English while learning how to dribble it!

Music and movement and ELL students

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicIn our ESL curriculum, ABC English & Me, we use English songs for kids, Total Physical Response, puppets, and story time to teach ELL students. English songs for kids that include miming of the songs provide children with the opportunity to sing and do—or Total Physical Response. For example, moving and hearing the vocabulary in “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” encourages ELL students to then use the new vocabulary as they move. Familiar English nursery rhymes and finger plays, pair English Language Learning with a fine motor activity.
ABC English & Me, our ELL/ESL curriculum for ages 2 to 6, aligns with international standards, including the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR). Plus, we incorporate the latest research on how music and Total Physical Response boosts language learning and increases phonological awareness.

Learn more about bringing ABC English & Me to your school!


5 reasons why family involvement in education matters to ELL students

Parental Involvement Supports Early Literacy Developement

Parental Involvement Supports Early Literacy DevelopementParent is another word for teacher—regardless of what any thesaurus says! (It’s also another word for nurse, doctor, chef, driver…) So, of course, parent involvement in early childhood matters. Studies continue to highlight the importance of family involvement in education, especially in regards to early language and literacy development. After all, we’ve said it before: a parent is a child’s first and best teacher.
However, unlike professional teachers, most parents do not have formal training in early childhood education or teaching English to children. Thankfully, parents do not need formal education in order to support their children learning English as a second language (or as a first!). They do need 20 minutes a day, English language books, and a comfortable place to read together. Here’s why:

5 reasons why parent involvement in education through reading makes a difference to English Language Learners

  1. Reading together promotes language and literacy development in both languages.
  2. Reading to children increases their vocabulary acquisition.
  3. Parents who read to their children improve their child’s chances of success in school-based literacy programs, including an ESL curriculum.
  4. Children’s reading achievement, vocabulary, and comprehension skills improve when their parents read to them. Plus, parents who are also learning English as a second language gain practice, too!
  5. Children develop a positive awareness of the structure of stories, the language of stories, the nature of reading behavior, and the sounds of the language.

ESL activities for children to do at home

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicDuring our ESL curriculum development, we intentionally created content for families to use together at home to support the classroom learning and parental involvement in early childhood education. ABC English & Me includes thematic 30-minute lessons for classroom teachers to use with English language learners between the ages of 2 and 6 years old. Children learn English vocabulary and expression in a musical environment that also connects the classroom learning with the learning at home through Kindermusik@Home. These monthly online home materials include ESL activities for children, a new English language eBook each month, English songs for kids, and more.

Get more information on teaching English to childrenaround the world with Kindermusik and ABC English & Me.

5 cognitive benefits of a bilingual curriculum


According to research, learning to speak English as a second language—or another foreign language—impacts the cognitive development in children. Of course, experiencing a bilingual curriculum can help prepare a child for a global workforce as adults. Plus, the younger a child learns a second language the more likely they are to speak like a native speaker.
In our ESL curriculum development for ABC English & Me, we combined our more than 35 years of experience with music and learning with the latest research on English Language Learning. Here are just a few of the benefits revealed in the research.

5 effects of a bilingual curriculum on child brain development

  1. Children who learn another language, including ELL students, score better on standardized tests, especially in math, reading, and vocabulary.
  2. Children who speak more than one language can easily switch between two or more systems of speech, writing, and structure.
  3. Bilingual and multilingual children exhibit stronger memories than monolinguals.
  4. Learning another language boosts the language capabilities of the first language.
  5. Bilingual children score higher on nonverbal problem-solving tests when compared to children who only speak one language.

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicRead more about the positive impact of music and movement on young ELL students, the research behind it, and how our ESL curriculum, which uses English songs for kids, puts it into practice.


4 family-friendly songs for English Language Learners

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” At Kindermusik, we like to say it this way: “Every child speaks music.” As a child’s first and best teacher, parents of young ELL students can use the universal language of music to help teach English to their children.

Why use music with ELL students?

Research shows that music can be an effective vehicle for teaching English to children. Finger plays, traditional nursery rhymes, and songs reinforce phonemic awareness, support vocabulary acquisition, and give English Language Learners practice in speaking or singing in a continuous flow.  So, turn up the music (and the English language learning!) with these four family-friendly favorites.
You can download a version (or two!) of these at

4 family-friendly songs for English Language Learners

  1. Old MacDonald Had a Farm

  2. Eensy Weensy Spider

  3. The Wheels on the Bus

  4. The Mulberry Bush

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicLooking for more ESL activities for kids or an English Language Learners curriculum? ABC English & Me uses music, movement, activities, and puppets to teach early learners English. Plus, Kindermusik@Home provides families with music, stories, and activities to do together at home to strengthen the learning.

Get more information on teaching English to children around the world with Kindermusik and ABC English & Me.


ESL Activities for Kids Inspired by Kindermusik@Home

Can farm animals and a bear aid oral language skills development, fluency, and vocabulary development in English Language Learners? Yes—especially when featured in Kindermusik@Home!

ESL activities for kids that support:

Oral language skills and fluency

The “Wake Up!” Game featured in the Good Morning, Good Night! unit of ABC English & Me is a fun ESL activity for kids and parents to do together. In the game, children help wake up all of the farm animals by saying, “Wake Up!”

to each animal. Teaching and practicing a short, simple, and useful phrase supports oral language fluency. Children can try this at home by helping to “wake up” favorite stuffed animals, dolls, or even pets.

Vocabulary development and fluency

The “Bear Gets Dressed” Word Game featured in the Sunny Day, Rainy Day unit of ABC English & Me focuses on the "clothes" vocabulary theme. Theme-based games provide structure and repetition to help English Language Learners deepen their understanding of new words. Parents can encourage children to use the English word for each piece of clothing they put on in the morning.

Looking for more ESL activities for kids or an English Language Learners curriculum? ABC English & Me uses music, movement, activities, and puppets to teach early learners English. Plus, Kindermusik@Home connects the classroom learning to the everyday routines and rituals of the whole family.

Get more information on teaching English to children around the world with Kindermusik and ABC English & Me.

Music, creativity, and English Language Learners

Einstein playing a guitar

Children naturally engage in creative activities: from storytelling to singing to dancing to turning a shoebox into a submarine, doll bed, or even another planet. An often-quoted IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the number one “leadership competency” of the future. Albert Einstein also understood the importance of creativity when he said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” So, how do we foster creativity in young children that sustains through adulthood?

Music and teaching English to children supports creativity

Einstein playing a guitar

Einstein often used music as a creative way to solve complex problems. He believed, “The greatest scientists are artists as well.” Playing an instrument, singing with others, and dancing to music all support a child’s creative process and encourages individual expression and exploratory behavior. Learning a second (or third!) language can also foster creativity. In fact, research indicates that bilinguals tend to be more creative thinkers and perform better in problem-solving skills than those who speak only one language.
An article published in the Early Childhood Education Journal, “Using Music to Support the Literacy Development of Young English Language Learners,” reviews current research to highlight some of the reasons why music can effectively be used when teaching English to children.

8 reasons to use music with ELL students

  1. A child’s initial introduction to patterned text often occurs first in songs, chants, and rhymes, which can lead to greater understanding of print concepts.
  2. Songs present opportunities for developing automaticity in the language process. The repetitive nature of many children’s songs helps ELL students learn the language as they hear words and phrases repeated.
  3. Music can be integrated throughout the day in the classroom and at home to develop and to extend vocabulary and comprehension skills.
  4. Music can improve listening and oral language skill development, improve attention and memory, and enhance abstract thinking.
  5. Music enriches ELL students’ creativity and cultural awareness.
  6. Songs can be used to practice and reinforce consonant sounds.
  7. Songs can teach a variety of language skills, such as sentence patterns, vocabulary, pronunciation, rhythm, and parts of speech.
  8. Music is a way for children to experience rich language in a fun way.

English Language Learners curriculum uses music

Created by Kindermusik International, ABC English & Me uses music and movement to teach English to speakers of other languages that meets the TESOL curriculum standards for Pre-K. This beginners program for English Language Learners combines our extensive experience in early childhood education with the latest research on learning a foreign language.

Get more info on teaching English to children around the world with Kindermusik and ABC English & Me.