What is Spanish language-immersion education? How will learning a second language help my child? Will Spanish immersion hinder my child’s English language skills or integration into the regular school system? What if I don’t speak Spanish? How will I be able to reinforce the language at home? Why enroll my child at The Spanish School House? Where can I learn more about language acquisition?
What is language-immersion education?
Children are capable of learning a second language much in the same way they learn their first—by being surrounded by it. At The Spanish School House, children explore knowledge and concepts in a friendly, relaxed, rich and stimulating environment where all activities are conducted in Spanish. Teachers speak only the target language in the classroom, using a wide range of instructional strategies that focus on subject-matter learning. In addition, children are introduced to the Spanish culture through music, art and dance. The product of this immersive environment is a child that achieves Spanish oral fluency and a deep appreciation of Spanish culture before the age of 5.
The Spanish School House is a uniquely fun and educational experience for your child!
How will learning a second language affect my child?
Second language acquisition has been shown to improve your child’s cognitive functioning in several vitally important ways:
- Greater skills in divergent thinking and figural creativity. (Landry 1973)
- Overall gains on standardized tests of basic skills, as well as additional cognitive, social, and affective benefits. (Taylor-Ward, 2003)
- Enhanced knowledge of native English structure and vocabulary. (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004)
- Greater cognitive flexibility, better problem solving and higher order thinking skills. (Hakuta, 1986)
- Extensive research has shown that learning a second language enriches a child’s first language development and provides an enhanced sense of global awareness, linguistic confidence, and learning strategies that are useful in many aspects of life.
Will Spanish immersion hinder my child’s English language skills or integration into the regular school system?
No. All skills and concepts learned in the second language, transfer to the native language. In fact, research indicates that children who study a foreign language develop a better understanding and command of their native language in the long-run. The curriculum at The Spanish School House adheres to the high standards set for early childhood education as stipulated by the Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum; our graduates will have mastered all the traditional preschool concepts, and in addition, they will have an excellent command of Spanish.
What if I don’t speak Spanish? How will I be able to reinforce the language at home?
It is not necessary to speak Spanish at home in order for your child to successfully acquire the language. During his or her time at school, your child is “swimming” in the Spanish language. The frequency and length of our program, along with the one-on-one attention your child will receive at The Spanish School House will provide the necessary exposure he or she needs in order to achieve oral fluency.
Of course, more is always better, and luckily a variety of media in Spanish is readily available. There are many age-appropriate options that you can explore, such as books, music, movies, software, etc. Our School will provide you with additional resources such as CDs, books and Internet resources that you can use at home with your child.
Why enroll my child at The Spanish School House?
You value the importance of being bilingual. Beyond the many cognitive benefits, Spanish is becoming a more prevalent language in North America and the Greater Toronto Area every day. Given the demographic trends and projections for the future, you want to provide your child with the skills to interact more effectively in an increasingly globalized and diverse world.
Where Can I Learn More About Foreign Language Acquisition?
The following two websites contain articles relevant to Spanish language acquisition
The following organizations provide research based information on language acquisition. All three are long-standing and academically recognized institutions.
National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL) http://www.nnell.org/
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) http://www.carla.umn.edu/
Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) http://www.cal.org/
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) http://www.actfl.org/