Benefits of bilingualism
Because of advances in technology, our world has grown more interconnected over the past generation. Exposure to and interactions with other cultures is crucial for children’s development and a major advantage of living in the developed world. A phone call 20 years ago that may have required a trip to a telephone booth can now be done via a live video chat on a computer that fits in a shirt pocket. How do we prepare our children for professional and personal success in the evolving world?
We believe that success in the 21st century begins with the brain and its development through a series of educational milestones and methods. Modern research has shown that children who are regularly exposed to two or more languages have a distinct advantage over their peers, due to neural path formation and improved cognitive skills.
Dr. Ellen Bialystok, a cognitive neuroscientist, has uncovered that children exposed to two or more languages regularly develop unique neural and cognitive advantages. The benefits extend beyond language and show benefits in non-verbal areas as well, including the following:
- the ability to attend to important information and ignore less important information
– the ability to manage two unrelated tasks simultaneously (i.e. multitasking)
– the ability to concentrate
– the ability to complete nonverbal tasks more quickly than monolingual peers
- greater proficiency solving mental puzzles
– greater ability to focus and avoid distractions
– greater ability at skills not requiring inhibition
– heightened ability to monitor their environment using less brain activity
– quicker and more accurate adjustment to changing stimuli
- a delay in the onset of symptoms of dementia by four years compared to those who speak one language
Benefits of Early Immersion
Exposure to a second language, particularly in an immersion school
environment, increases the chances of full fluency and language mastery. “Why Bilinguals are Smarter”(New York Times)
Immersion duplicates the conditions through which, because of extended contact with a community of fluent speakers, children learn to “think” in each language naturally, without translating. This unique environment allows for the special wiring of the neural paths.
Springbridge International School’s unique curriculum and environment are carefully formulated to require high-level engagement and exercise of the executive control center. Children think naturally in both languages, allowing for the development of the bilingual brain and preparing them for professional and personal success.