Why you should want bilingual education for your child

Whether you know it or not, you should want bilingual education for your child.

If you found out that children are more prone to learn math from 1-8 years old, you would probably ensure your child is enrolled in a strong math program, not wanting to miss out on this window of opportunity  that could limit her life in any way. Well, we actually know that students can “absorb” multiple languages with ease at the native speaking level up to 8 years of age. Furthermore, once they have acquired 2 languages, a child or adult is much more capable of learning additional languages.

If you know your child has one window in her life when she can become a native speaker in more than one language, why would you forego this opportunity? Whether you realize it or not, your decision about your child’s immersion in multiple languages will open or limit trajectories for his entire life. It will be too late, if you are waiting for middle school language classes. And if you are relying on “Dora” or a supplemental Spanish class, it is too little. In order for a child to become academically fluent in another language, she needs 4-7 years in an immersion environment.

However, the benefits do not stop with native language acquisition. Bilingual children outperform their peers in their first language as well. Also bilingual students demonstrate deeper capacities for critical thinking, concentration and engagement (which is logical, since they are constantly thinking in multiple languages and making decisions on how to communicate).  Research from the Testing Program of the College Board has demonstrated a correlation between students who study a second language and SAT scores.

Simultaneous to language acquisition, students also learn about various cultures which is invaluable both for their mental framework and future career options in a global economy. Finally, speaking as a parent, you and I both have worked very hard for our children to provide them with the best. While I strive to do so, I also want to protect them from entitlement and only relating with children like themselves. Charleston Bilingual Academy provides them both a world-class education while also creating a multiethnic environment where our children can make friends from various cultures, languages, and walks of life- inspiring them to become world changers.

Further Reading:

Immersion Education… Giving your child an advantage.

Why study a foreign language?

Duke TIP- Cognitive Benefits of Learning Languages

NEA’s (National Education Association)  2007 compilation of research on the benefits of second language acquisition

The DANA foundation’s brain-based research on bilingual education


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