I currently teach University and High School, yet I am constantly posting games and ideas for preschool? Why? I believe that by teaching students two (or more) languages at a young age we are really giving them one of the best gifts we can. I am not the only one who thinks so! This is an article by Jordan McPelt which discusses the positives of ESL preschools for English speaking students.
Why English Speaking Kids Should Attend a ESL Preschool
As the world gets continually smaller through social media, technology, and all the different governments overturning for change, there are so many benefits to being bi-lingual. In fact, many people are trying to learn another language themselves because they can see some real benefits to being able to communicate with a larger amount of people in the world. There are quite a few benefits to learning another language while still young in age, even as young as pre-school. If you have the option to send your children to a preschool that offers English as a second language, you should consider this school.
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Many people don’t realize that when a child is learning to talk, their brains are wired and ready to learn a language quickly. Professionals debate on when the window closes for the brain’s optimum point of learning a language, but most believe that it is around age six or seven. Some debate that it may go into puberty, but no matter when they believe it ends, the truth still stands that once you are past this point it is not only harder to learn another language, but even things like perfecting the accent will never come. It is considerably easier for children to learn another language and the earlier they get started, the better. Preschool age is still in these formative years and having exposure to other languages, even if it isn’t the primary language spoken in the home, so attending one with at least one other language being spoken can be very beneficial for a child.
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Building It Up
When a person learns to speak another language, it actually becomes easier to learn more languages. This is because there are plenty of similarities between languages. The brain is also more flexible in terms of having a history of adapting to multiple words and phrases for the same thing. This helps to pave the path for more languages spoken throughout life.
Exposure to Cultures
When attending a preschool that has multiple languages spoken, there are other differences that are going to naturally come along as well. The countries of origin that these children and their families come from have many different traditions, holidays, and ways of doing things. This is because culture is deeply rooted in these families, even if they have been out of their country for years. Having your child experience all of these differences gives them a wider view of the world and lenses in which to view it. When your child learns about other cultures, they broaden their understanding by realizing their way is not the only way to do things and can learn to appreciate differences in others.
Benefit in Other Areas
Immersion programs have long been a preference for parents who opt to have them brought to their
schools. When using these
programs it is often a few subjects that are taught in the foreign language
rather than the entire day of that language only. Research shows that these
types of programs have academic benefits like higher math scores and even more
sharp critical thinking skills. If you are worried that it may benefit in some
areas but decease other areas, like native language skills, rest assured that
children are flexible and do not have any negative affects shown in their
native language speaking. It almost seems as though during these formative
years where learning a language is optimum that the brain is wired to pick up
and learn many different languages.
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Keeping It Up
In order to keep up the language that is learned, it must be kept up. Learning a language while you are young does not mean you will be able to speak it 25 years down the road. Constant exposure to the language is required to keep it up, so the benefits extend far beyond a year or two.
What do you think? Would you send your student to an ESL preschool?