We are really missing the boat in teaching world languages in the US. The research has been telling us for years that we need to begin teaching second (and third) languages in the elementary years. I would argue that we should begin teaching those languages in the preschool years. (Dr. Montessori revealed that the sensitive period for learning language is birth to 6.) When you look at teaching language outside of the home, students are best able to learn additional languages between ages 3-12. So why do most schools wait until high school to start? We are missing the critical years when aural, oral and brain development are most receptive to learning languages. (Think about the billions of synapses that are being created during this age span.) As our world becomes more global, we are handicapping our youth by not making them polylinguistic. That is why we teach sign language in our Toddler program and start teaching Spanish in our Primary program.
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