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The old joke about people speaking two languages being called bilingual and those who speak one language being called Americans continues to ring true. About two-thirds of the children outside the U.S. are bilingual, but only 17% of those living in the U.S. speak another language besides English. The problem in the U.S. is that most kids don’t get their first exposure to a foreign language until high school, which makes it much harder to learn. The earlier a child starts learning a second language the better, which is why a preschool Spanish program can be so beneficial.
Studies show that children younger than five have an easier time learning a second language than older children and adults, which makes preschool Spanish lessons a good idea if your goal is to try to start your child on the path to being bilingual. But even if you just want to get your child some exposure to a second language to stimulate his or her brain and make preschool more interesting, preschool Spanish can do the trick.
Spanish for preschoolers doesn’t have to be difficult. A preschool Spanish curriculum can include some Spanish story books as well as learning the Spanish alphabet and how to count in Spanish. No one is expecting 3- 4- and 5-year-olds to become proficient in Spanish.
While you certainly could choose other language programs for your preschooler, Spanish makes a lot of sense. In terms of number of language speakers, only Chinese is more prevalent than Spanish around the world. And when it comes to children in the U.S., the most likely foreign language they are likely to be exposed to in real life is Spanish, due to the large number of Mexican and Central American immigrants in the U.S. That makes a preschool Spanish language program quite practical and worth whatever extra money you pay on top of your regular preschool tuition.
If you start your child in a Spanish language program in preschool it can give him or her a leg up in life. Research shows that people who master a second language have a much easier time learning a third one. And skills with multiple languages can benefit your child when he or she grows into adulthood, as people who are bilingual earn about 20% more on average in the U.S than those who speak only one language.
With so many benefits, it is definitely worth your while to check into a preschool that offers a Spanish language program.