Learning more than one language helps your child improve their ability to focus, thinking skills, and self-control. Also, bilingual kids can better relate to others from various cultures and backgrounds, as well as show greater empathy. But, if you speak just one language at home, how do you raise a bilingual child?
This is where bilingual preschool comes in. Most preschools offer some exposure to a second language such as Spanish as part of their curriculum; however, more and more schools now offer immersion programs that let kids learn in a Spanish-rich environment.
Bilingual Preschools are Not Made Equal
It’s important to keep in mind that not all bilingual preschool programs are the same, so you must make a careful choice. They differ in the amount of Spanish taught, not only the language but also its cultural appreciation. While regular bilingual preschools pay more attention to English and Mathematics, bilingual immersion programs provide greater exposure to the Spanish language and culture. In some schools, kids are in a complete immersion program which means their lessons are fully delivered in Spanish while in others, lessons and activities and carried out in Spanish at least half the time. A lot of schools combine both English and Spanish in the classroom to let kids interact with a bilingual teacher.
Choosing the Best Program for your Child
If you want your child to be bilingual and speak little or no Spanish at home, a preschool that offers more exposure to the Spanish language than English might be your best choice. Take the benefits and drawbacks of every approach and see what makes sense for you. For instance, some experts advocate having both English and Spanish language teachers present during the time of a child at home. This helps them build competency in both languages and benefit from exposure to varying perspectives.
Bilingual Preschools Have Teachers who are Native Speakers
Experts say that kids in general benefit from teachers who are native speakers and have an in-depth knowledge of the language like grammar, structure, and culture. Spanish teachers can bring cultural elements into the learning process, which helps kids understand how to use the language and the reasons some words or sentences are used in a particular way. This makes the learning process more fun and engaging. Also, a child can master a second language if they hear it accurately. This is especially important for a tonal language such as Spanish.