ECE and Foreign Language
Children and Foreign Languages
When I was in high school, we had some family friends come to visit that I had never met before. They had two young girls, about 3 and 5 years old. As I talked with them, I found out that the 5 year-old girl was just as fluent in French as she was in English. I was shocked, and impressed. There I was,a high school student struggling through Spanish class, sitting next to a bilingual 5 year-old. As I talked to her dad more, I found out that they had been talking to both of their girls in French and English since they were born. While I didn’t know it then, it turns out they were on the right track to teach their children a foreign language.
According to Earlychildhood News, research shows that the preschool years are the most crucial for language development in children. The article states that, during the preschool years, “learning a second language is as easy as learning the first” (earlychildhoodnews.com). The article goes on to talk about pediatric neurologist, Harry Chugani. Chugani talks about how important the preschool years are to language learning and development, and that “by the time a student reaches high school, the optimum learning period is lost.” When the world is growing smaller due to technology and people from different backgrounds are interacting on a more regular basis, it will greatly increase a child’s success to learn a second, or even third, language.
The best example of language learning in preschools is actually found in Sweden. One of the highest literacy rates in the world belongs to Sweden, and multiple languages are taught from an early age. “In these schools you will find three-year-olds speaking three different languages fluently” (earlychildhoodnews.com). This seems almost impossible, but it works because these schools “use sensory stimulation and play combined with language learning,” just as Building KIdz does.
Building Kidz and Foreign Language
Just as our curriculum incorporates academics with dance, music, and theater, we also bring Spanish into the classroom on a daily basis. This is due to the research discussed above, but also because of the secondary benefits that come from learning a second language at a young age. The two main benefits are that it will “feed their brains” and “boost their academic achievement” (leadwithlanguages.org). Learning a second language increases multiple academic and life skills, like problem-solving, critical thinking, listening, and multitasking. Children who speak more than one language also have increased reading, writing, and listening skills.
At Building Kidz, we want all of our children to receive these benefits. Each age group is introduced to Spanish in multiple ways. Our children hear Spanish from their teachers, from music, and from books. It is implemented through each day and week in order to help them achieve in all aspects of their lives.