Why is Bilingual Education important for my child?
Le Petit Jardin offers classes that create a great place for young children to laugh and play, but in addition, recent studies show that exposing your child to an additional language from a young age can benefit him or her for a lifetime of learning!
The following articles are just a few of many boasting the multitude of amazing results bilingualism has on the ability of the brain and its capacity for learning many skills and subject matters; language skills are just the beginning!
Not only is learning a foreign language easier for children than it is for adults, but children who are exposed to other languages also do better in school, score higher on standardized tests, are better problem solvers and are more open to diversity, says François Thibaut, who runs The Language Workshop for Children, which has nine schools around the East Coast. Thibaut is a pioneer in foreign languages for babies and children and is the author of Professor Toto, an award-winning home-based foreign-language curriculum for parents and children.
"More and more people are aware of the importance of teaching another language to their child because we are in a global world," he says.
Language study for children is based on immersion, he says. Kids sing songs and play games to help develop language comprehension skills. "This is a natural way of learning language."
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“Preschoolers who speak one language can usually recite the alphabet and spell their names but cannot read without the help of pictures. But bilingual preschoolers can read sooner because they are able to recognize symbolic relations between letters/characters and sounds without having visual objects," said psychologist Ellen Bialystok, Ph.D., of York University and author of the new study.
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By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
Oct. 13, 2004 -- People who are bilingual have an advantage over the rest of us, and not just in terms of communication skills. The bilingual brain develops more densely, giving it an advantage in various abilities and skills, according to new research...
Bilingual Brains Do Better
The brain has two types of tissue visible to the naked eye, termed gray and white matter. Gray matter makes up the bulk of nerve cells within the brain. Studies have shown an association with gray matter density (or volume and intellect), especially in areas of language, memory, and attention.
Brain imaging showed that bilingual speakers had denser gray matter compared with monolingual participants.
The difference was especially significant in the brain's left side -- an area known to control language and communication skills. The right hemisphere of bilingual speakers also showed a similar trend.
The researchers say that although language is thought to be mediated by functional changes in the brain, they show that being bilingual structurally changes the brain. Their study shows the effect was strongest in people who had learned a second language before age 5.
In a second test, the researchers studied 22 native Italian speakers who had learned English as a second language between ages 2 and 34.
Those who had learned English at a young age had greater proficiency in reading, writing, talking, and understanding English speech.
As in the first test, increases in gray matter density in the brain's left region were linked to age at which a person became bilingual. The earliest second language learners had the densest gray matter in that part of the brain...
SOURCE: Mechelli, A. Nature, October 2004; vol 431: p 757
What do parents say about Le Petit Jardin?
"My daughter started Le Petit Jardin when she was 20 months and through familiar contexts she could understand French immediately.
Within a few weeks she was speaking several words and attempting a nursery rhyme & 2 songs. Her French language acquisition is much like her English; she learns what she's interested in learning, and she associates French words with certain activities and practices them as
part of her normal routine.
Instead of a rigid curriculum, the entire language is available to her as she plays & interacts with Mme Ambi and the other children.
We feel that she has an invaluable opportunity at Le Petit Jardin to learn French in an easy, natural, much more effective way."
-- Celeste, San Anselmo
"My daughter has really thrived at Le Petit Jardin and we value the French immersion greatly. Amber is so good with her that she felt immediately comfortable there, engaging in all the activities and playing well with the other children.
When I come in to pick her up, she is always excited to show me the latest art project that she's done with Amber.
As she is our first child, we were nervous with leaving her in someone else’s care, but Amber has created such a warm, loving, and stimulating environment that we feel very lucky to have her there."
-- Tara, San Rafael