The benefits of a bilingual education
Most LFSF students become fluent in a second language in their very early years. They not only speak, they write, read and learn in that language as comfortably as they do in their primary language. Moreover, students are ready to learn and introduced to a third language by the end of their Elementary school years. A gift like this opens doors throughout their lifetime.
At LFSF, students don’t simply learn languages—they live them. Language immersion in the classroom, through exchange programs, and in playdates provides an opportunity for children to learn a language like a native speaker. Bilingual students are more able to navigate among cultures and are uniquely prepared to be global citizens. They are educated in an environment that values openness, tolerance and fearlessness when approaching new people, communities and experiences.
Research studies indicate that the achievement of proficiency in a second language associated with Dual Language instruction provides many benefits for students.
Individuals who are bilingual switch between two different language systems. Their brains are very active and flexible. They have enhanced levels of metalinguistic awareness (i.e., knowledge of how language works), proven to be essential to learning how to read. Research also shows that bilingual people have an easier time in understanding math concepts and solving word problems. They develop strong thinking skills, and tend to be better at focusing, remembering and making decisions.
In addition, since bilingual students are used to thinking about language and translation, they consequently are better at learning other languages beyond their first two.
Bilingual or not, parents have a critical role to play. Having a French speaking parent is not a factor of success in a bilingual program like ours. On the contrary, parents are encouraged to read to their children in their mother tongue, knowing that knowledge and learning in one language is eventually transferred to the other. The educational success of children learning two languages is directly linked to the mastery of their mother tongue (Zelasko and Antunez, 2000).
Parents are also important in motivating and encouraging their children to enjoy, practice and study hard in both languages. Learning and studying in two languages can be challenging and demanding so it is important for your child to understand your choice and count on your support.
In a global society like ours, learning a second language during childhood provides developmental and social benefits children will carry with them well after graduation.
- They demonstrate increased memory, attention and language abilities
- They have greater awareness and understanding of one’s native language, greater appreciation for multiple points of view and multiculturalism
- They tend to be better able to bridge generation gaps with relatives who speak non-dominant languages
- They generally have higher self esteem and flexibility and lower levels of social stress
- They even benefit from delayed onset of Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementias!
50 to 75% of adults around the world speak at least two languages. In our global society, bilingual professionals have many advantages. They have more job opportunities around the world than monolingual adults. Research shows that they also earn an average of $7,000 more per year than their monolingual peers. Bilingual individuals have the opportunity to participate in the global community in more ways, get information from more places and learn more about people from other cultures.
At LFSF, we attract families from around the world who are very mobile and want a high quality, consistent educational experience for their children. LFSF is part of a network of nearly 500 schools throughout the world, making it easy to contemplate providing a consistent high quality education to your children wherever your job may take you.