If you’ve ever considered enrolling your child in a language immersion class, there are more than enough good reasons to do so. In fact, the earlier you introduce a child to a foreign language such as Spanish, French or Chinese, the more it will benefit them. Studies have shown that introducing a foreign language before the age of 10 or even the age of five is a good idea.
Nowadays there are lots of dual language immersion programs that allow kids to learn a second language. Whether you’re interested in a Spanish curriculum for children, a French curriculum for children or another language, such programs have proven very popular and are offered by nearly 40 U.S. states.
If you’re a parent, chances are you had a little bit of exposure to foreign language teachings in high school, whether it was French, German or Spanish. But waiting that long can have some negative consequences, namely not remembering any of it beyond high school. This is likely a big reason why just 17% of Americans can speak a second language.
By introducing a child to a Spanish curriculum for children, a German curriculum or any sort of dual language immersion program early in life, you’re giving them a leg up which can have numerous benefits, including:
- Embracing diversity: Learning new languages isn’t just about learning and memorizing vocabulary words or conjugating verbs and forming sentences. Ultimately, a Spanish curriculum for children or a German curriculum helps kids better understand the world around them. They learn more than just words; they learn about social customs, food and other aspects of culture. The goal is to obviously learn the language, but it also helps kids embrace and understand diversity at an earlier age; something that could be argued is lacking today in many respects.
- Better communication: The point of dual language immersion programs is to teach kids to speak another language, but it can also help kids improve their overall communication skills whether they’re communicating in English, Spanish, French, German or another language. Kids learn how languages work, why certain words are used and how to better express themselves, which will help give them confidence.
- Dexterity and problem-solving skills: There’s no doubt that learning a language can be tough. But it can also give folks a real sense of accomplishment. Kids immersed in a Spanish curriculum for children for example will have better cognitive skills and increased brain density. This will give kids a better working memory and better skills for problem solving.
- Better self-identity: It doesn’t matter what language you’re speaking or how you’re communicating, language is at the very heart of who people are. Language allows people to communicate with family, friends and all others who they need to communicate with. It also helps draw people together culturally. This speaks to the important of language programs, which allow kids to learn new languages, but also to strengthen their grasp on their native language.
- New ways of learning: Another benefit of dual language immersion programs is that they offer children new and fun ways to learn. Kids can learn languages through computer programs, flash cards, one-on-one meetings with teachers and other ways that may or may not be available in a traditional school setting. Another benefit is that these language programs can be combined with other “core” subjects where kids are as much invested in learning a new language as they are in their core studies.
Whatever path you pursue—whether it’s starting your child in preschool Spanish lessons, enrolling them in a dual language immersion program or even doing some homeschooling—there’s no doubt your child can benefit from picking up a second language early in life. Dual language immersion programs allow kids to study more than just the nuts and bolts of language and kids are able to go deeper, studying culture and language roots to gain an appreciation and understanding of the language they are learning. By embracing new learning techniques and gaining self-confidence, kids will better understand the world they live in and learn another language.