Language Is A Child’s Superpower
Most children have the ability to learn languages far better than adults.
In a language immersion or bilingual preschool, teachers who speak a second language will use that language throughout a majority or most of the day for everything, from talking one on one with children to circle time.
Language Immersion preschool schools tend to go further with exposure than bilingual classes taught in higher educational settings. Multilingualism is part of the classroom environment, learning, and socializing. Some parents may fear that learning more than one language while a child’s overall verbal abilities are developing can be confusing to the child.
However, the benefits of bilingual childcare programs have science to back them up!
What The Research Says
Our brains are wired to acquire languages prior to puberty. As a result, it is beneficial to expose the young to a variety of languages in order for them to retain this ability.
Children are not as overwhelmed as adults when attempting to communicate complex thoughts or embarrassed by making language mistakes.
According to Tara Williams Fortune, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition The University of Minnesota, the benefits of bilingualism among children include:
- Bilingual children can develop earlier and faster than monolinguals to decipher problems containing conflicting or misleading cues.
- They can show superior selective attention and executive or inhibitory control.
- They are also more sensitive to verbal and nonverbal cues.
- They tend to be more attentive to their listeners’ needs than monolingual children.
- Furthermore, are also more adept at learning new languages than monolinguals.
The Rewards of Early Language Learning Are Vast
There is a proven link between basic thinking skills and being a proficient bilingual child who regularly uses both languages. Divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem-solving are areas where bilinguals outperform monolinguals.
Some research suggests that English-proficient language immersion students have better nonverbal problem-solving skills.
Exposure to bilingualism also exposes children to more profound and, at times, poetic ways of expressing themselves and understanding how others express their own emotions.
Juan Carlos Cuellar (pictured above) is the director of Mi Cunita de Noe Valley Nursery school, was formerly a Spanish bilingual elementary education for the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) from 1985 until his retirement in 2014.
“Young children can learn another language if given the opportunity to experiment with the new language and culture in a motivating environment. When children are engaged in social interactions with interesting activities in Spanish, language learning is natural,” says Cuellar.
Language Immersion schools are growing in popularity and proving to be effective school models. Wonderschool’s platform hosts several language-based programs in languages that include Spanish, French, Chinese, and more.
Click to find a program near you!
Looking to start your own bilingual school? Wonderschool can help with that too!