At Crossing Borders Preschool, we will help your child learn a second language through an immersive environment during the school day. However, you may be looking for ways to reinforce what your child learns at our language immersion preschool when they’re at home. One avenue you may be exploring is subliminal learning. In many ways, language immersion involves subliminal learning, but there are ways you can use it outside of an immersive environment.

What is subliminal learning?

Subliminal learning refers to the acquisition of information or skills through the subconscious. In language learning, the idea is that you can soak up the complex underlying regularities of a foreign language without consciously trying to learn it. This seems to be partially how children naturally learn a language; their young, elastic minds unconsciously pick up language skills without the need for studying guidebooks, as adult language learners do.

How do people use subliminal learning to acquire a new language?

You may have heard of people using the most popular method of subliminal learning: learning in your sleep. Some people use this as a way to improve themselves through hypnosis tapes; you may know someone who listened to a self-help CD while they slept that was supposed to help them lose weight or quit smoking, for example. In language learning, many people will try subliminal learning by playing a CD in their chosen language overnight. The theory is that your mind hears these language clues, and subconsciously picks them up, and the process of sleep helps to solidify these lessons in your memory. While there is some debate as to whether or not sleep learning is actually effective, a recent study indicates that it could be helpful with language learning. The Swiss National Science Foundation recently conducted a study during which they had German-speaking participants listen to Dutch in their sleep. People who listened to the new language in their sleep were more successful at retaining the words they had learned than those who simply studied them.

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How could I use this to help my child learn a language?

The jury is still out as to whether or not subliminal language learning really works, but there are ways you can adopt the principles in a way that may help your child acquire their second language.

  • Sleep learning: While some research indicates that sleep learning works, it is important that you not disturb your child’s sleep. Sleep serves an important developmental purpose for children, so it is not worth the risk of disturbing them by playing a CD in their new language. However, you can still use the basic principles to reinforce what they learn in school by practicing their new language with them right before bed. Sleep helps solidify our memories, so in theory, hearing their new language right before they sleep will help your child. Instead of using a CD, try reading them a bedtime story or singing a song with them in the chosen language.
  • On the way to and from school: Additionally, you can expose your child to their second language unconsciously by playing CDs in the language to and from school. Whether it is music or an instructional CD, having the language on the background subconsciously exposes your child to the language more, which will help them to absorb the language more readily.
  • Label household items in the chosen language: Even if your child can’t read yet, labelling household items in their second language may help them learn quicker through subliminal learning. As they grow, they will subconsciously associate these words with these items, and as they learn to read, it will be easier for them to learn in the second language.

At Crossing Borders Preschool, we setup our students for success by providing them with an immersive environment in which they can learn a language, both consciously and subconsciously. When you are looking for a preschool in Pearland, TX, contact Crossing Borders Preschool to schedule a tour.