Give your Child the Gift of Language: Why So Many Parents are Choosing Early Childhood Language Immersion
You have probably noticed that language immersion programs are experiencing continued and growing popularity. Today parents have many options to choose from for immersion education in early childhood, public and charter elementary schools, as well as pathway programs through middle and senior high schools. Why? Because educators and parents are increasingly becoming aware of all the benefits children experience because of learning a second language. Do a quick search online and you will find research and articles on the topic. They are all singing the praises that language learning has on the developing brain, particularly if children begin before the age of 5…the earlier the better!
Giving your child the opportunity to acquire a language naturally in the early childhood years when they are very young makes so much sense as it is a natural, effortless, process for them. Later in life, it is a whole different story, generally requiring hours of time in class learning grammar structures and vocabulary. The brain learns language differently the older you get.
Of course, the obvious benefit of becoming bilingual is gaining the ability to communicate with more people in our communities and around the world. But have you considered the following research-based evidence on other benefits of being bilingual?
#1 Being bilingual enhances cognitive function
Giving your child two languages gives them an intellectual advantage. The reason that learning two or more languages improves your cognitive function is simple. When you speak two different languages you instinctively know when to use which language by the environment you are in or the people you are with and you develop the ability to switch back and forth easily. This exercises the brain and creates greater elasticity. This elasticity then can be applied in other settings and gives a person the ability to switch between tasks. It is amazing to watch this happen in small children.
#2 Being bilingual provides access to greater opportunities throughout life
I think most people easily understand how knowing a second language really broadens your opportunities. Not only do job opportunities multiply, just imagine how being able to communicate with more people brings new connections and opportunities that enrich your life. Also, for many bicultural families with grandparents and extended family living in other countries, it is so important that they teach their children their native language so they can have conversations and relationships with those important people in their lives.
#3 Bilinguals students are more sensitive to the needs of others
When children play with children who are different from them, they will naturally understand that their similarities far outweigh their differences, and they tend to grow up with more accepting hearts. I cannot state emphatically enough how important this is as our nation grapples with how to eliminate systemic racism. Never allowing these biases to take hold by giving your child the opportunity to experience differences and similarities among people early in life can have a lasting impact in a short number of years. Also, learning a second language opens the door to an entirely new world you never knew existed. When you learn that in other countries they have ways of saying things that simply do not have a translation in English, you get an amazing insight into how people think differently in different places, and it opens your mind to the value of thinking and seeing things from different perspectives.
So, if you are a parent, like many, who wants the best for your child, why wouldn’t you give your child the gift of language? Seek out an early childhood immersion program such as ours at Bilingual Child Care & Education Center. It will change your child’s life! For more information on our centers, or to schedule a tour, please call 651-340-2938.
Leah Retamozo, MA, CEO
Bilingual Child Care & Education Center, Inc.
Bilingual Child Care & Education Center provides Spanish Immersion Early Childhood Education for children 0-9 in Mahtomedi and Roseville! Give your child the gift of language this summer! Now enrolling school-age summer programs in Mahtomedi and year-round care for children 0-5 at both locations! Give your child the gift of language.