Why would I want to send my child to a dual language immersion school?
Mastering two or more languages has enormous benefits for students, both native speakers of English and native speakers of the target language(s) at a dual language immersion school. People who can speak, read and write in two or more languages are able to participate in different cultural and language worlds. Research has confirmed the benefits of biliteracy and bilingualism that are demonstrated as brain and cognitive functioning, academic, economic, and social advantages, as well as cross-cultural competency and supporting a stronger family cohesion and connection to their family heritage:
Brain and Cognitive Advantages
- Development of skills in two or more languages enhances brain-functioning with long-term cognitive benefits. Similarly, age-related mental decline such as Alzheimer’s and dementia has been found to be delayed in bilingual people.
- Mastering two or more languages prepares students to communicate in a language other than English and also increases academic performance in other subjects. For students who come to school as native speakers of the target language, also known as “English learners,” the simultaneous development of both English and their home language is associated with stronger performance in English than students, both native English speakers and native speakers of the target language, who are educated exclusively in English.
- Fluency in more than one language and the cross-cultural skills that students acquire are prized and rewarded with higher salaries by many businesses in the United States and throughout the world. Many more career opportunities are available to people who are proficient in English and another language in the global environment of the 21st century.
Social Advantages and Cross-Cultural Competency
- Students who study other languages display more tolerance for and interest in other cultures. Study of another language expands one’s worldview and builds cross-cultural understanding, a definite advantage in the global multilingual, multicultural world in which we live.
Stronger Family Cohesion and Connection to Family Heritage
- More than three out of ten of school children in California, and nearly one in ten across the nation, speak a language other than English at home. The development of strong bilingual and biliteracy skills that include the home language and English provide them the capacity and opportunity to participate actively in both worlds, leading to a strengthening of their family and heritage culture.