The Benefits of Bilingualism by Alicia Ford

Si, Qui, Ja, Hai: Why Cedarwood Students K-7th Learn a Second Language!

Alicia Ford - Spanish Teacher

Alicia Ford – Cedarwood Spanish Teacher

As Spanish Teacher for our Pre-K to 7th-grade students for the last 14 years, I often see students learning Spanish through song, written conversations & skits, themed vocabulary picture books and later in our middle school, through grammar activities, short lesson skits and reading short stories. Everyone exhibits a strength, whether it’s in reading, writing, speaking or listening. Sometimes students display a natural ability to pronounce vocabulary or read from a script. For other students, our integrated curriculum offers differentiation through visual, audio and written resources. By the time Cedarwood students graduate and move on to high school, our students are prepared for the challenges of any Spanish curriculum. As you may be aware, colleges require high school foreign language credits. No doubt having had Spanish as an academic subject from Pre K through their elementary years promotes success in any high school Spanish program.

I’m so excited to share findings in a paper I read recently about the cognitive benefits of learning a second language! The exposure your children have at Cedarwood in learning a language from Pre K-7th grade enhances their abilities in academic successes now, and later in their careers. The proof is in the statistics! Engaging children in learning a second language early develops a life-long foundation for cognitive success.

Students at Cedarwood enjoy Spanish class

4th graders experience passport activity as they travel the world in class.

The attached article brought to the forefront, at long last, that learning a language benefits cognitive function. Previous studies before the 1960’s didn’t accurately reflect the true cognitive benefits of being bilingual. However, once factors such as socioeconomic status, gender and age were applied to research studies, the findings were remarkably different. In fact, these studies found that bilinguals have a distinct advantage over monolinguals in verbal and non-verbal assessments and in increased cognitive ability.

Did you know that 66% of the world’s children are bilingual? Amazing statistic, isn’t it? And these bilingual children (including yours here at Cedarwood) are exercising the executive function of their brains seamlessly. Studies show that the executive functions that are stimulated every time a bilingual speaks or listens are: problem-solving, mental flexibility, attention control, inhibitory control and task switching. It’s like cardio for the brain!

Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival for Preschool - 7th Grade

Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival for Preschool – 7th Grade

Take a moment to read the attached paper titled The Cognitive Benefits of Bilingualism/Biliteracy by John DeMado. It will surprise you and confirm what Cedarwood School already knows. Learning a second language will help your son or daughter enhance their cognitive ability now and later help them with a wider range of opportunities in their careers. Surprisingly, being bilingual has also been proven to delay the onset of mental cognitive deterioration (dementia) by five years! Learning a second language is not only an academic milestone, it can prolong your cognitive abilities!

If you have always wanted to learn a language, I encourage you to check out Duolingo, a free, language-learning app that can be accessed on most platforms – phone, tablet, desktop, etc. Small steps lead to greater successes later! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at aford@cedarwoodschool.com!

Spanish for Preschoolers

Spanish for Preschoolers

Alicia Ford
Spanish Teacher, Cedarwood School, PreK-7th Grade

Read the attached paper titled The Cognitive Benefits of Bilingualism/Biliteracy by John DeMado