When it comes to child development, you can not set your watch to when your child learns how to walk, read, or even talk. There may be a time frame in which these basic skills are developed and should begin but they will happen when your child is ready. Encouragement to learn a skill can seem like it is leading nowhere if your child does not soon show they are understanding your teaching. But so often they are absorbing whatever information you are giving them, even if you do not see the evidence of your child’s understanding immediately. If your child is in a language immersion program, you also may not be aware of all the incredible benefits your preschool age child is getting. Many parents would not believe that a child, who is just learning their first language, would have the ability to learn a second language in their first five years of life. Taking advantage of their sponge-like brains can not only introduce a second language to children, but it can also help them develop skills that will aid them in so many other parts of their lives. Enrolling your child in a language immersion program will benefit their literacy skills in their first language, strengthen problem solving skills, create empathy for others, as well as learning a new language.
Literacy skills: Language and reading are so deeply connected. A child who is learning how to read must first recognize that the symbols they are looking at in their picture books have meaning and that they are giving information to the reader. When a child understands that each letter makes a different sound, and that they can put the sounds together like building blocks, they can finally get to the information being communicated by the word or sentence. When children are introduced to the different sounds of a second language and have to associate letters with this new language, the skill of identifying letters, sounds, and words is strengthened in both their first and second languages.
Problem solving skills: When a child is in a language immersion program, they will not understand some of the words that are being said by their teachers at first. They will have to develop the skill of problem solving as they figure out what is being communicated to them. When they make the connection that two words mean the same thing but just in different languages, they have taken a step toward learning this new language and also strengthened their ability to solve the language puzzle in front of them.
Empathy for other cultures: When you learn a second language, suddenly those words that you may hear at the grocery store or at the park that are in a different language hold meaning to you. Language connects people. If your child begins learning a second language at a young age, suddenly instead of thinking the lady at the store talks funny, your child hears words that they can understand. When your child learns a new word in a second language, your child will now be tuned in to hearing that word when out and about in the world outside of the classroom.
To give your child not only the gift of learning a second language but all the other added benefits of a language immersion program will help your child in many different areas of their life. If you are in the Bay Area and are looking for a Montessori program that offers language immersion programs, give Fountainhead Montessori School a call today.