There have been many studies and articles published in the last few years about why bilingualism is a benefit. We suggest watching this Ted talk for a good summary.
These are all great motivations for learning two languages. Aside from these, we have decided to create a multilingual environment because we believe that it is important to prepare children for their future, whilst considering their current needs. Immersion into an environment with a new and unfamiliar language can be very daunting for a young child. We know that our children are calmed by the tone and rhythm of a familiar voice, both of which change a great deal in a foreign language. We also know that it is important for early speakers to feel understood. Therefore, a bilingual environment gives many children a safety net from where they can begin to learn another language, but still understand or be understood when necessary.
For many non-native Catalan speaking children, joining the public school system or engaging in extra-curricular activities can be a daunting process if they are not used to speaking Catalan. An early bilingual environment allows children to gain a solid base in this additional language whilst ensuring that English is also spoken throughout the day, in a variety of contexts.
By using the OPOL technique we are also creating an environment where children are strongly encouraged to begin to speak both languages. Guides will encourage children to use the language that they are addressed in, as exposure alone does not make a speaker.