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Language Immersion

Benefits

Language—any language—is a window to the world.
In immersion programs, the second language is not necessarily a topic of
instruction, but a vehicle for instruction of other curriculum subjects.
A full immersion school exposes children to cultures they may not regularly
encounter on a day-to-day basis, and it develops in them an ability to make
friends and connections with a variety of classmates. And, of course, full-
immersion schools show students how to think globally, yet act locally – a
mindset that is becoming more and more important these days.

What to expect

Children who have some foundation in a language can really hit the fast
track when attending an immersion school. But even children who do not
have a foundation tend to do much better than their parents could ever
hope. Your child’s attendance also depends upon his or her knack for
language, motivation, outgoing nature, and other factors.


Below is what you can expect from three days per week of immersion.


First month: Everything is new, and the child will resist the change
vehemently. Typically he or she may be quieter and more reserved at
school and may resist playing with the other kids. Remember, this is normal behavior for any child attending a new school, even if there isn’t a new
language involved. It’s a typical human reaction to change.


The second month: Your child hopefully begins to adjust to the new
situation. He or she opens up and plays more with the other kids and
begins to learn the basic words (“Yes,” “No,” “Maybe”). They begin to like
and to gain trust in the teachers.


Third month and beyond: Your child should now be comfortable with the
situation and starting to enjoy school, which really accelerates the language
learning process. Remember, happy kids learn the quickest. He or she has
made a few friends and looks forward to seeing them. At this stage, your
child will increase his or her vocabulary much faster and start to combine
words into simple sentences, perhaps even picking up some basic
grammar. If you can keep up this kind of language interaction, you're really
off to the races. After about one semester, he or she will be comfortable
using the second language and will be quickly catching up to the peers —
well on the way to speaking a foreign language, just by playing and having
fun.

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