Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Teaching Spanish to children - Answers

Are you concerned that teaching your child a second language will confuse her or hinder or native language development? Here's an article that sheds some light on the question:

Will Teaching Spanish to Children Affect Their English Skills?

A multitude of American preschools are now teaching Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to toddlers, while select private programs offer foreign language instruction for children from six months and up. Children are learning with home programs, enrolled in after school programs and an increasing number now get an introduction to a second language in their elementary school classroom. Who are these little linguists? Many are the children of savvy English-speaking parents who realize that learning a second language is easy for the young.

Despite this growing trend, some parents still struggle with the idea of introducing a second language before their child has mastered his first. Are there any adverse consequences to teaching a second language like Spanish to children too soon? Will it slow down their ability to learn English?" (Read more)


daniel said...

I'm English and my wife is Thai and we're of the opinion that it is of the upmost importance that our child is bilingual. Not just because of the obvious benefits, but the stimulation and development of the brain that follows. There has been much research that has shown that if children learn another language when they are young, then their powers of reasoning, logic and abstract thought increase significantly. Thanks for the interesting read.

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Karen said...

I agree. I've already seen the effects with my older son. Of course, I can't say that learning Spanish at home is the only reason for his advanced reading and math skills, but his teacher who is getting her Masters in gifted education, said it's probably played a part. :)

Now if we could get the schools to see that foreign languages are just as important as the other subjects.

Josh said...

Interesting and encouraging article.

I agree with Karen. I think that language study in our schools should be one the same level as other subjects. Despite our many advantages in this country, we are severely lacking in our ability to communicate with people from other countries in their native languages.

As everything moves to becoming more and more global, we will only be hurting our children's future by not teaching them another language.

Learning another language, according to this and many other articles, actually helps children to excel in other subjects like reading. The advantages seem to be so obvious that I don't know why it isn't taught more in school.

I'm done ranting now... :)