Our programming is built around the truth that all people liberate themselves through education that is self-led and communally integrated. We do this by facilitating free play, decision making, nurturing emotional well-being, fostering inclusion, developing social skills, enforcing personal responsibility, and enhancing cognitive development, all through innovative bilingual curriculum that occurs in the outdoors whenever possible. We believe:
- Children have inherent knowledge of their world that is expressed through interactions with caregivers, peers, materials, events, conversation, and nature.
- Learning is sequential, building on prior understandings and experiences.
- Learning proceeds at different rates in each area and each child; yet all areas interact with each other.
- Learning in each area is interconnected. Young children learn best through experiences, which incorporate several areas of development.
- Learning is embedded in a culture. Children learn best when their learning activities are rooted in a familiar cultural context.
- Learning begins in the family, continues in early care and education settings, and depends heavily upon strong connections with primary caregivers.
At any given time, the children could be found playing at the train table, dressing up in costume, painting, building with blocks, chalk drawing outside, and very often, singing and dancing. Through play and song and dance, La Lengua students learn numbers, letters, Spanish, and topics such as days of the week, colors, and sign language.
The children learn Spanish listening comprehension and vocabulary from interactions with the teachers and through songs and play. Most La Lengua teachers are bilingual in Spanish and English and speak to the children in both languages. As a school that focuses on inclusion, La Lengua students come from all backgrounds. Some students come to La Lengua from home where only English is spoken, and others from bilingual homes, including Spanish, French, Bengali, Mandarin, and more.
Why Bilingual and Why Spanish?
As best stated by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL):
“In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with people from other countries and backgrounds, other benefits include improved overall school performance and superior problem-solving skills.”
CAL also reports that students of foreign languages tend to score higher on standardized tests and may have better career opportunities. [See Other Resources below for more.]
According to the US Census Bureau, there are over 48 million Hispanics residing in the United States, making up 16% of the population. Those numbers are expected to rise over the coming years.
Although it is advantageous to learn a second language at any age, it is commonly understood that languages and sounds are more easily picked up by younger children. An early start also affords the child to obtain a higher level of fluency and native-level pronunciation.
There are many fantastic online resources that discuss the advantages and dispel some of the myths about learning a second language at a young age. Here are a few links we recommend:
- The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) publishes a brochure, Why, How, and When Should My Child Learn a Second Language.
- The American Speech-Hearing-Language Association (ASHA) discusses some of the advantages of being bilingual.
- Neuroscientists from The Brain and Language Lab (BL2) of Gallaudet University study the effects of language on brain development and dispel some common myths about achieving language milestones in monolingual and bilingual children.