The Importance of Focus on Language Learning

For the last few months, we’ve been unpacking character and cognitive skills through your student’s language journey. If you’ve missed our past newsletters take a look at Courage or Resilience to read more!

During the month of February, our “focal” point will be on FOCUS. According to the article, The importance of focus and self-control for young children by Kylie Rymanowicz an Early Childhood Education Educator from Michigan State University,

Focus refers to attention and involves being alert and “orienting.” Orienting refers to the ability to focus one’s attention on the specific tasks that will help them accomplish whatever their goal is. Concentration is also a big part of focus as children get older. (1)

Learning a new language requires an intensive amount of focus. Certainly, it is one of the most important traits in a child’s growth development to achieve personal and academic success. For this reason, we encourage our students to be immersed in Spanish 100% of the time during class. Staying focused drives success and we become bilingual!

The Society for Neuroscience identifies cognitive benefits of second and third language learning, including greater focus on tasks and the ability to tune out distractions (as compared to monolingual children), and stronger working memory, as well as greater gray matter and brain connections. To learn more see, The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual.

What is the result? A student’s brain is cognitively more efficient at processing language information. The research is so compelling that there are indications that bilingualism may even help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. To read more about this exciting research, click Lifelong Bilingualism Maintains Neural Efficiency for Cognitive Control in Aging.

So, while we’re focused on getting your child launched into a successful and meaningful future, learning Spanish may just be the gift that gives back for a lifetime.

For more information about how a second language impacts your child’s development you can download our easy to ready ebook:

“5 Surprising Facts About Learning A Second Language”

Thinking Skills

COGNITIVE SKILLS

Language acquisition is difficult. Think of how hard English class can be, even if you are (likely) fluent English speaker. But there is a time in a child’s life when learning a language is more fun than it is hard work, when they’re more cognitively adapted to language learning–and that is the early elementary years.

Researchers tell us that children’s brains are still being formed in the early elementary grades, when conditions are ripe for language learning. That’s why we typically start our Sombrero Time kids in Kindergarten. While initially a little confusing, our immersive language learning isn’t difficult for kids. They adapt quickly, and before you know it, they are speaking simple Spanish words. They begin moving down the rich and rewarding path of being bilingual.

The Society for Neuroscience identify these cognitive benefits of second and third language learning: Helps children focus on tasks and tune out distractions, compared to monolingual children. There is evidence of stronger working memory, as well as greater gray matter and brain connections in bilingual children and adults.

What is the result? A student’s brain is cognitively more efficient at processing language information. The research is so compelling that there are indications that bilingualism may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. So, while we’re focused on getting your child launched into a successful and meaningful future, learning Spanish may just be the gift that gives back for a lifetime (Society for Neuroscience, 2008).