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Childhood Bilingualism: Why Kids Should Learn Two Languages, Part 1

spanish curriculumFor children living in the United States, there are countless benefits to learning Spanish as a second language. This country is becoming increasingly diverse, and so many native English speakers will work and play with Spanish speaking peers. This is why many teachers are choosing to integrate a Spanish curriculum for children into their preschool and elementary classrooms. By doing so, they are opening growth and knowledge opportunities for their students.

In this two-part series, we will explore the benefits of childhood bilingualism and how educators can jumpstart these programs in their classrooms.

Why Encourage Childhood Bilingualism?
By learning a foreign language, children can experience both short term and long term benefits. The following are some of the key advantages of a childrens Spanish curriculum.

  1. Improved Problem Solving: When educators implement a Spanish curriculum, they are training the parts of the students’ brains that comprehend information and solve problems. This sets them up for academic success for the entire future of their schooling.
  2. Eased Early Reading: When students learn elementary Spanish, they are doing so as they improve their English reading skills as well. Studies show that learning a second language actually improves mastery of a first language.
  3. Mental Focus: Bilingualism involves task switching and other mentally demanding activities, which improve a student’s ability to focus on the problem at hand.
  4. Career Benefits: Researchers have found that bilingual employees make 20% more per hour than monolingual employees. While a career is likely not on your students’ radar, bilingualism can improve their job prospects down the line.
  5. Cultural Opportunities: Spanish is the official language of 20 countries around the world. So, by knowing Spanish, students can eventually travel to these countries and deepen their cultural understanding. They can also communicate with the growing Hispanic population in the United States.

By offering Spanish for preschool and elementary-aged students, you are offering more than just a new language. Your students can experience academic improvements, early reading success, and other cognitive benefits from a young age. In the next part of this series, you will learn how to actually implement this language learning in your classroom.

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