Foreign Language Benefits for Young Learners
Hola! Bienvenidos! As I reflect on my personal journey learning Spanish, the language was easy to love, but not easy to learn. During the five years of Spanish courses that I completed in high school and college, I learned just enough to (slowly) communicate with Spanish-speaking acquaintances.
This is something that I have continued to refine over the years, and most recently, I have been facilitating my own child’s learning of a second language.
Research suggests that the best time to introduce a new language to a child is from birth through age 10. Because of this, we enrolled my daughter in Spanish at her preschool when she was just three years old. When FLVS released a new Elementary curriculum in August 2018, she was entering Kindergarten. I enrolled her in the Introductory Spanish course to continue building upon the foundation she had with the Spanish language, and two years later, she has completed both the Introductory Spanish and Spanish Level 1 courses.
Further research suggests that the benefits associated with learning a second language from a young age include better cognitive development, improved ability to communicate, and richer cultural awareness.
Witnessing my daughter demonstrate cultural awareness through the acquisition of a second language has been fascinating. She recently learned about flamenco, a style of Spanish music, and aspires to travel to Spain when she is older. Not only can she roll her “r” better than anyone in the family, but she is learning to read the language with the proper pronunciation.
The FLVS Elementary Spanish courses provide a natural progression of learning through the language acquisition stages of pre production, early production, speech emergence, and intermediate fluency. Foundational skills in listening and speaking are built in the early levels, and Spanish literacy skills begin in Level 2. Each course is built on connections to an authentic culture of a specific Spanish-speaking region through the arts, celebrations, and traditions of the culture.
Interested in learning more about the FLVS K-5 Spanish courses, or our entire Elementary curriculum? Visit our online elementary course list.
Looking for options outside the state of Florida? Check out FlexPoint Virtual School.
Nikki is an eSolutions Specialist with the FlexPoint Virtual School Team. She began her career with FLVS as a HOPE teacher and has served in various roles in Instruction and Professional Learning. She is currently studying for her M.Ed. in Educational Business Administration and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.