Spanish Immersion Post
How does it work?
Spanish Immersion means that your child is immersed, or surrounded by the Spanish language during his/her preschool day. Your child will enjoy all of the joys of a regular Montessori preschool, just in Spanish! In this language immersion environment when a child is enjoying an activity he/she learns the educational concept and the language at the same time.
Newcomers to class will immediately be hearing Spanish words, however, the teacher will utilize English as required to ensure children understand the rules and expectations, get to know their teacher and are made to feel comfortable. Throughout the day, the teachers, when necessary, will show or dramatize what they are saying. However, in a preschool environment virtually every opportunity provides self-explanatory translation and so the children can grasp meanings from their very first day in class.
If the teacher believes that a child does not understand certain Spanish expressions from the context, it will be explained briefly in English, before resuming in Spanish. This will ensure that no child feels 'lost' or 'confused'. Our objective is to encourage and enjoy the Spanish Language and provide the strong foundation of a Montessori approach, but the prerequisite for this, of course, is to make sure your child feels secure and comfortable at his/her preschool.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is the program only for families with Spanish-speaking parents?
A. No, in fact the majority of Spanish Immersion students have English-speaking parents.
Q. What is the advantage of having a mixed age class?
A. Dr. Maria Montessori advocates the multi-age classroom as the younger children, who learn through imitation, can learn from the older students, while the older children benefit from the experience that allows them to learn compassion and to care for the younger ones.
Q. What is the best age to introduce a child to a second language?
A. The earlier a child learns a language the better. Studies have shown that children who learn another language before the age of five learn with the same part of the brain that they use to speak their mother tongue. Younger children are without inhibitions and so will speak naturally and with native-like pronunciation.
Furthermore, learning a second language, like learning any skill is a wonderful opportunity to keep young 'sponge-like' brains active and stimulated, setting a good habit for later life. It is said that even if a child discontinues the practice of a second language, some benefits will remain with the child.
In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with more people, children may derive other indirect benefits such as self-confidence and awareness of other cultures. Knowing a second language does prepare us better for life in the multi-cultural, multi-lingual world of the twenty-first century, and can provide a competitive advantage in the workforce.
Q. Will a second language interfere with my child's English ability?
A. In most cases, learning another language enhances a child's English ability. Comparing two language systems aids with the understanding and use of each. Reports have demonstrated that children who have learned a second language earn higher SAT scores.
Q. Is it harder for a child to acquire two languages at once?
A. There is no evidence to suggest this. A child doesn't have to be exceptional to become bilingual; as long as the child is exposed to two languages throughout early childhood, he or she will acquire them both. Additional activities at home are not required for the child to successfully learn a second language. However, we can advise you in this regard if you wish to enhance your child's experience.
Benefits of learning Spanish at the preschool age (according to the Center for Applied Linguistics) include:
Positive effect on intellectual growth
Enriched and enhanced mental development
Greater mental flexibility, including creativity and multi-tasking
Improved understanding of their native language
Increased cultural competency and opens the door to a greater worldview
Early appreciation for other cultures
Potential for job opportunities where knowing a second language is an asset