As infants and young children age, their lingual discriminatory skills diminish. Introducing young children to additional languages, beyond their native tongues, is both import-ant as well as effective, as their minds are neurologically best suited to learn. Even as infants, social interaction in multiple languages has positive impact on phonetic learning. Preschools and early childhood classrooms across the United States are now embracing multi-language teaching and immersion programs that establish bilingualism at a much younger and age.
Benefits of Learning
More Than One
Studies reveal numerous benefits to learning multiple languages. These benefits include: better executive control, improved overall communication skills and new connection to the world. Learning another language can make it easier to learn and prepare children for future interests and careers. The ability to read and think in two (or more) different languages promotes higher levels of abstract thought, which is important in learning. Studies have shown that children exposed to multi-language learning demonstrate overall academic improvement in nearly all scholastic disciplines.
Why Choose an Immersion Program?
Immersion programs typically involve classroom instruction in two languages. There are various approaches to facilitate language immersion in an educational setting. Teachers may use different approaches based on student's ages. Schools often segment specific days of the week for specific language “immersion” as well as portions of the day in which they use one language predominantly. Typically, schools use a higher percentage of time on a second language when students are younger to take advantage of those years most formidable when learning that second language. By so doing, the students become comfortable listening, learning, and speaking in both languages. Research has proven that children have better success with additional language when they have live interaction with that language rather than only access to audio and visual mate-rials in the target language. Thus, immersion programs provide the ideal setting for children to think, understand and converse in a second language.
Immersion programs are particularly helpful to children in strengthening their cognitive abilities which can improve all aspects of their academic work as well as day to day academic tasks. This strengthened executive function makes processing and storing new languages easier, setting them up for polyglottal success. Enrolling your child in an immersion program could also set your child up for better career opportunities as many companies prefer bilingual employees over monolingual employees. Speaking other languages helps to connect people with the world and serve a larger variety of customers. Learning a second language not only benefits children in the long run but helps them develop and learn communication skills as they begin to understand that there are various ways to express the same word or concept. Children learn and practice valuable-social skills such as taking turns speaking and expressing their feelings. Finally, as children learn multiple languages, they become well rounded global citizens. Speaking multiple languages can bridge the gap between cultures, businesses and people, creating a more connected world.
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