Comment: Children are a blank canvas for learning

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IMMERSING children in different languages from an early age can only be a good thing.

So the pilot project underway at nurseries in Edinburgh looks very exciting indeed.

Scotland and the UK are well behind here and put to shame by other European countries who for years have taught children to be multi-lingual almost from their first word.

There is no reason we cannot do the same and at the same time give our youngsters a huge head start in life, it simply takes the vision.

Children, especially at nursery age, are a blank canvas for ­learning.

As our city becomes even more cosmopolitan and trade links with both Europe and further afield ­develop, learning a second or third language will not just be an asset, it may well become essential.

Instead of French, German and Spanish, we may soon be looking at Mandarin as the must-learn language in our schools, and the one increasingly demanded by ­employers.

The Scottish Government’s aim to ensure every child masters the basics of two additional languages by the time they leave primary school is certainly ambitious but hopefully also achieveable.

And it will not just provide those involved with the benefit of being able to ask for directions to the train station, comment on the weather or talk about their favourite food in French or Spanish.

As city education leader Paul Godzik says today, developing foreign language skills can help wider learning as well as exposing youngsters to a range of different cultures at an early age.

It is fantastic that Edinburgh is at the forefront of this project and that our youngest citizens are leading the way for the rest of the country to follow.

Who knows? perhaps the homework will teach some parents a thing or two as well along the way.

Good luck or should we say: Buena suerte/bonne chance to all involved.