Dubai company's language apps help develop multilingual children

Dubai app developer hopes to help children become bilingual at a young age.

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DUBAI // A new series of apps has been developed to teach preschool children multilingual skills.
The first app from Appy Kids, Appy Animals, is available for the iOS platform and is aimed at children aged two to four.
The interactive programme gives children a chance to learn animal names in Hindi and English, while getting a glimpse of Indian culture through the use of illustrations as well as music created by Bollywood music director, Ram Sampath.
Growl Media, who created the apps, plans to localise Appy Animals in a variety of languages starting with an Arabic version that is due to be released shortly. The introduction of Android and Amazon Kindle formats is also due later this year.
"There are thousands of good educational apps for the early years segment," said Growl Media's founder, Dinesh Lalvani. "Yet there are very few that target this specific region and even fewer that offer original content and quality.
"Users can expect our apps to be well thought out, with the developmental and educational needs of the early years segment in mind.
Additionally, they can expect each app to make language and learning a fun and exciting experience for kids, regardless of ethnicity," he added.
Dr Georgia Daleure, an expert on early-years education based in Sharjah, says apps can have a very positive impact in language development.
"Languages take practice and with the likes of iPads kids can just sit and spend time interacting, learning words, sounds and letters with the stimulation of sound and colour. This is something they can do by themselves even when they're young."
Mr Lalvani said the idea for Appy Animals came to him when he was looking for a way to teach his two-year-old son Hindi.
"It was astounding to me that there was nothing out there to help me teach my son Hindi, so I decided to try to create an app myself.
"As the project grew, I became aware that there was a market out there for culturally relevant content that can provide young kids an opportunity to understand not only their own native languages and cultures, but that of others as well," he said.
"Research shows that children who learn two languages in their early years are much better equipped to multi-task as they grow up.
"In light of this research, our apps are relevant for all children, regardless of whether they are of Indian descent or not.
"Also, in a world that is becoming increasingly homogenised, familiarity with different cultures and languages can only help to make children more culturally aware as adults," he added.