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).

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