Bilingual preschools are becoming more prevalent in the United States. They offer an opportunity for young children to be exposed to more than one language on a regular basis and become proficient in a second language. Whether you want your child to pick up a second language that your family does not speak fluently or you want to help normalize the language you speak at home by sending your child to a school where it is spoken, a bilingual preschool can offer many benefits. However, before you decide to enroll your child in a bilingual program, here are three things you should consider.
1. The Level of Immersion
Preschools offer different levels of language immersion. At full immersion preschools, lessons are conducted entirely in the foreign language and emphasis is placed on the acquisition of that language. At partial immersion schools, both English and a second language are taught, either at the same time or by switching regularly throughout the day.
Whether you want a full-immersion or partial-immersion school depends on what language you speak at home, whether you will continue to send your child to a bilingual school throughout their academic career, and how comfortable your child feels with the situation.
You should also note whether your child will be allowed to speak in both languages. Some full-immersion schools require or heavily encourage your child to only use the language of the school, which may frustrate some young children.
2. The Ability of Staff to Communicate with You
If you do not know the second language your child will be learning, it is important that the staff is able to communicate with you. If there are teachers at the school who do not speak English, will there be interpreters available to help you ask questions about your child's progress and discuss any problems they may have?
3. The Cultural Atmosphere of the Preschool
While some preschools are solely bilingual, other preschools are both bilingual and multicultural. This means that in addition to learning a second language, your child will also be exposed to basic cultural aspects that are often associated with that language. This is often the case when bilingual preschools hire teachers with a background in another country. If this is something you are interested in, it is important to ask to make sure it is available at the school you are considering.
Although bilingual education can be beneficial to your child, it is important that you consider these aspects carefully before enrolling your child. Speak with representatives from facilities like the Montessori School Of Salt Lake Inc to learn more.