The importance for children to learn the Greek language:
A message from the Director of Education, Dr Anastasios Koularmanis
In today’s increasingly interconnected and diverse world, fostering a sense of cultural identity and promoting multilingualism is vital to the holistic development of our children. Among the languages that are of considerable importance, Greek stands out as a language that not only offers a connection to a rich cultural heritage, but also brings many cognitive and personal benefits. Encouraging children to learn the Greek language from an early age is a significant investment in their future, allowing them to forge a strong connection to their roots while gaining a global perspective.
Preserving cultural identity: For children of Greek origin, learning the Greek language is a gateway to their cultural roots. Language plays a central role in the transmission of traditions, values and customs between generations. By learning Greek, children can connect with the heritage of their ancestors, thereby developing a sense of pride and belonging. This allows them to communicate with older family members, participate in Greek festivities and traditions, and better understand their family history. Adopting the Greek language ensures that the Greek cultural heritage remains alive and valuable, enriching the child’s sense of identity and fostering a connection with their community and heritage.
Enhanced Cognitive Development: Learning a second language, such as Greek, during childhood provides many cognitive benefits. Research has shown that bilingual children develop stronger executive functional skills, including problem solving, cognitive flexibility, and attention control. By learning Greek, children exercise their brains, improving their memory and language skills. The Greek language, with its unique grammar and rich vocabulary, inspires children to think analytically, thereby strengthening their cognitive processes and boosting their overall intellectual development. These cognitive benefits extend beyond language acquisition, benefiting children from a variety of academic disciplines and establishing a solid foundation for their future success.
Global perspective and opportunities: In an increasingly interconnected world, being multilingual is an invaluable asset. Learning Greek gives children a broader perspective, allowing them to engage with different cultures and build bridges of understanding. Greece’s rich history, mythology, and contributions to various fields provide a unique perspective through which children can explore diverse topics such as philosophy, art, science, and literature. By learning Greek, children gain a greater appreciation for global diversity and cultivate empathy and respect for other cultures. Moreover, Greek is spoken by millions of people around the world, which creates opportunities for cultural exchange, travel and even career prospects in fields such as academia, international relations or tourism.
Strengthen Family Bonds: Learning Greek fosters a stronger bond between children and their Greek-speaking family members. Language acts as a channel of communication and intergenerational bond. Children who can converse with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in their native language form deeper relationships and develop a deep understanding of their family’s experiences and values. This language bridge not only strengthens family ties but also enriches the child’s emotional well-being and sense of belonging.
Encouraging children to learn the Greek language offers many benefits that go far beyond language fluency. It nurtures a sense of cultural identity, strengthens cognitive development and provides opportunities for global engagement. Learning Greek allows children to make a unique connection to their heritage, allowing them to explore their roots and form stronger family bonds. Additionally, it equips them with valuable cognitive skills and a global perspective, preparing them to thrive in an interconnected world. By investing in teaching the Greek language to our children, we ensure that they carry the torch of Greek culture and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse society.