Friday, November 25, 2011

Preparation for Bilingual Education


Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: preschool education and early child care services by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)
 Every parent wants their child to have the best education to prepare them for the future and to become a successful adult. One of the things that parents look at and should consider is what it will take to prepare their child for the work world of the future and this future is almost guaranteed to be one that is highly competitive. While much of education today is geared toward holistic learning and inclusive teaching, competition among students, and ultimately competing workers, remains fierce. With a culture that is quickly becoming universally bilingual, integrating bilingual learning into early childhood education cannot be anything but an edge up for your child.

Bilingual Trends

As the world has become smaller and is in the process of becoming a truly global society and economy, the future is certain to continue to move toward bilingual communication skills. In the United States alone, a wide variety of diverse cultures and languages are represented, including Mexican, Russian, Mandarin, Vietnamese and countries from all continents and around the world. The fact that the United States is a country that has included and welcomed such a wide variety of immigrants has resulted in large bilingual language centers around the country.

As global economics continues to shift, knowledge of languages such as Mandarin, Hindi and others from around the world will continue to also grow in importance. The ability to speak at least one and even more languages will serve your child well as they develop into a successful adult.

Preparation for Bilingual Education

Historically, learning a second language has begun during middle or high school for students in the United States. However, recent research indicates that learning a second language can be much more effective when it is started early in a child’s education. It has been found that the best time for a child to learn a second or third language is when the language centers of their brain are developing and they are attaining and acquiring their first language. While it is possible to learn additional languages when a child is older or even when they are an adult, the easiest and most natural time for a child to become multilingual is during the early years of language development before the “window of opportunity” for language development closes.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal state very clearly that children learn two or three languages very easily at a young age. Throughout the world, educators have known this to be true, especially in countries with multiple official languages and where the culture is multilingual.

Children learn best in an environment where the second language is spoken constantly and they are immersed in it. Children who live in families or cultures where multiple languages are spoken automatically pick up the language skills with little effort on their part. To them it is a natural process and as automatic as learning language in general. Even as adults, one of the best ways to learn a second language is in a total immersion language program, although the process is harder as an adult than it is for a young child.

If you want your child to have an edge for success in the future, one of the ways to accomplish this is to enroll him or her in a early childhood or preschool education program that offers language immersion programs.

0 comments: