Parents zone

There are many compelling reasons why learning a language can help your child.

But support and encouragement from parents and guardians is essential.

Languages Connect – Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026 was launched in December 2017 by the Minister for Education and Skills to support Action 1.6 of the Department’s Action Plan for Education 2016-2019 to help learners to become effective communicators.

The Strategy’s vision is to create a society where the opportunity to learn and use one foreign language is taken for granted because of its value for individuals, society and the economy.

There are many supports available to you as a parent or guardian to help and encourage your child to learn foreign languages. Please discuss with your child’s school or contact us.

In the meantime, why not read our ‘Fact Sheet for Parents‘ about why our students should study a foreign language at Leaving Certificate. 


For more information:

Visit Why study a language

GradIreland Languages Career Booklet – click here

The European Perspective 

The language learning goal of the European Commission is that members should be able to:

  1. Fully use the language of schooling (in Ireland, the language of schooling in most schools is English)
  2. Fully use another European language
  3. Confidently use a third language

Language learning is an integral part of the identity of Europe citizens. Ireland aspires to ensure that its citizens can share in this identity but also can benefit from the other rewards that come from language learning.

Heritage Language Speakers

Parents of children you speak home languages other than English are often concerned that by not supporting their development of English they are putting them at a disadvantage. In the European context, this is not the case and by encouraging the use of the home language you are, in fact, supporting their ability to speak English.

Be proud of your home language.

Use your language to communicate with your child from the day they are born so that they can learn it too.

Your home language will help to build a secure, loving relationship with your child. We use our mother-tongue to speak the language of our heart. It is the language we speak best. Be proud of it and pass it on.

No. Their home language can be used to help them to learn English and many more subjects as well.

You are the expert when it comes to your home language.

The teachers in your child’s school are the experts when it comes to teaching English, additional languages and other subjects. When school and home work together your child, the student, benefits.


Knowing your home language will help your child to:

  • Have confidence in your child. Confidence is very important for success in learning and in life
  • Remain connected to the wider family, e.g., grandparents, cousins. She/he can communicate with confidence when using Skype and when visiting your country
  • Feel at home in your country of origin
  • Feel at home in Ireland as your home language helps your child to (understand, speak, read and write) / (learn) English. Yes! The better your child knows their  home language the more this will help them to learn English and additional languages
  • To develop skills like observation, analysis, reflection, questioning, exploration – all very necessary in the learning process
  • Transfer these skills to learning not only languages, but other subjects like Maths and Science as well
  • Be interested and motivated to learn
  • Develop independent/autonomous learning skills


Having language skills broadens access to a greater variety and number of courses.

Career Benefits 

Languages can transform a career and are increasingly important for success both in Ireland and abroad.

Specialising in foreign languages can lead to your child working as an interpreter, diplomat or foreign correspondent, giving them a front-row seat to watch history unfold.

From finance, to law to engineering, even a basic understanding of a language can lead to rapid promotion and prestigious foreign assignments.

Less than a quarter of the world speaks English. By encouraging your child to learn a language you will help open doors to the other three-quarters – and a world of hidden opportunities.

Hear more from industry experts in Ireland in our videos section

Personal Benefits

Knowing more than one language:

  • will enrich your child’s knowledge and understanding of other, global cultures and people
  • will help them to broaden and enrich their personal contacts
  • will help them to develop lifelong learning skills.

Language learning is, by nature, very sociable. Whether they are doing a language course, are on an exchange, or connecting with other people of their age,  your child will develop personal and professional relationships with a wide range of individuals that will last a lifetime.

Learning a language builds your child’s resilience. They will develop problem-solving skills, become more adaptable, resourceful and creative with when communicating.

Learning a language is a lifelong skill that benefit not only their cognitive development but also their personal skills. These include communication skills, intercultural skills, and the ability to see problems and solutions from many different angles.

Hear more from those whose lives have benefited from knowing a foreign language in Ireland in our videos section.

Cognitive Benefits

The cognitive benefits of speaking two or more languages are well know. By encouraging your child to speak more than one language you are supporting their brain development.

Bilingual brains operate differently to those of single language speakers. Having a bilingual brain can help your child to:

  • use their brain more efficiently
  • improve their focus and analytical skills
  • improve their memory
  • help them to communicate better in their mother tongue
  • fight against dementia in old age


Social Benefits

The world is becoming increasingly diverse. Languages have an important role to play. Being able to communicate in another person’s language will help your child to:

  • Build bridges between people of different cultures
  • Build unity in diversity
  • Understand each other, work together and build a more harmonious society

Ask at your local school about including your home language as part of the new short courses in heritage languages in New Modern Languages. This is an initiative supported by the DES Languages Connect programme. 

Also, the value of spending time abroad is as a student is something that should not be overlooked.

The Department of Education has provided funding for 10 schools to contribute towards the the costs of running an exchange, to offer scholarships to students who would not otherwise be able to participate, or for other needs that the school identifies as contributing towards language learning on the exchange.

Ask your child’s school or contact us for further information about exchange opportunities.

For more information please  CLICK HERE

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Did you

Only 6.5%
of the world’s population are native English speakers