Teaching Spanish to Kids

Written by Education Quotes on . Posted in Dual language immersion programs, Spanish curriculum for preschool, Spanish curriculum lessons for preschoolers

Language is an art that can unify people around the globe, but not speaking a language creates a “language barrier” between two people. The good news is that even though many languages and dialects are spoken around the globe today, there are many audio books, classes, and online courses to teach kids and adults alike to speak and understand another language, and some of the most common languages, such as English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, German, French, and more are widely studied and spoken as second languages. In particular, Spanish stands as a very popular choice for a second language to learn. Given how it has 387 million native speakers around the world and it is the world’s second most common native language (Mandarin Chinese is first), any child or adult today will unlock many possibilities once they become conversational or fluent in this language, such as in Mexico, South America (aside from Brazil, where Portuguese is spoken), and, of course, Spain. It has also been generally accepted that younger kids more easily learn a language than teenagers or adults, and for this reason, a Spanish curriculum for kids can easily allow youngsters to explore the Spanish language and get a grasp on its phonetics, grammar, vocabulary, and more. Bilingual adults who can converse in Spanish will have many business and travel opportunities in the Spanish-speaking world, from Cuba and Mexico to Peru and Chile to Spain, and even in former Spanish colonies around the world. A Spanish curriculum for kids, whether homeschool Spanish, a dual language immersion program, or Spanish curriculum for preschool, this language can be taught to a young child with ease.

Children and Language

It is commonly understood that newborn babies do not innately have an affinity for their parents’ spoken language; rather, a newborn has the capacity for the phonology and grammar of any language on earth, and children under the age of 10, and especially those under the age of five, are the most receptive to learning more than one language. Teenagers and adults can certainly learn a second or third language as well, such as in high school and college, but they will lose the longtime exposure that a child will get to a second language while growing up. Someone who starts learning a second language at age five has a considerable head start over someone who starts learning it at age 18.

Just how receptive are kids to a second language, and how does this factor into a Spanish curriculum for kids? Often, starting to learn a second language before age 10 is effective, and starting to learn one before age five is even better. Similarly, before age six, a child has a high capacity for learning new, foreign sounds and grammar rules for a second language, making it easier for them to learn a second language such as Spanish. Then, between ages eight and 12, a child’s capacity to hear and reproduce new sounds will be lower, and this may slow down (though not stop) the capacity to learn a second language.

In the United States, students are first exposed to foreign languages relatively late, usually first hearing them and getting a chance to study them in middle school or high school, well after the young brain’s prime time to absorb and reproduce a second language. By contrast, many schools in other parts of the world will teach a second language to kids by the time the students are eight years old, giving them a much-needed head start on learning a second language and allowing them to learn it when the young mind is more receptive to it.

Why learn a second language, or take part in a Spanish curriculum for kids? Speaking another language allows a person to visit or move to another country much more easily, and give them access to new business partners, friends, and literature that can allow for personal enrichment. In the United States, in particular, Spanish is by far the most commonly spoken and written minority language, and kids can join a program to teach Spanish for preschools or elementary Spanish to enrich the mind and allow them to better understand and get along with Latin Americans and understand their heritage. Besides, learning another language can be great fun.

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