Studies indicate that there are many cognitive benefits to learning a foreign language. In addition to impacting student’s linguistic abilities, second language learning has been shown to increase creative abilities as well. Furthermore, the younger children are when they begin to learn a foreign language, the greater the impact. If children begin learning a foreign language in early childhood, they will exhibit greater intellectual benefits over those children who do not learn a foreign language or begin learning later. Typically, American schools do not begin teaching foreign languages until middle school, when children have passed the critical period for language acquisition.
The National Standards for Foreign Language Education in the 21st Century encompass the five C’s of essential foreign language education:
The foreign language curriculum at 2nd Nature Academy embraces a wide range of communication skills recommended by the American Council for Teaching Foreign Languages. These standards provide a vision of what students should know and be able to do with other languages. In order to attain these standards, we provide a foreign language program that provides rich curricular experiences in order to develop positive attitudes and excitement toward learning foreign languages.
The 2nd Nature Academy foreign language curriculum includes both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, beginning in pre-kindergarten. Mandarin claims the top spot as the world’s most commonly spoken language, followed by Spanish and then English. By teaching both Mandarin and Spanish we are preparing our children for a global economy. We are training our students to become cross-culturally competent adults who will be successful in handling the challenges that globalization can present. Finally, students who are culturally and linguistically prepared to effectively communicate both abroad and in a pluralistic American society have greater changes for success.