Why I Am Raising A Bilingual Child
When I told my family that I was going to send my son to a Spanish Immersion Preschool, I got a lot of questions: What if he gets confused? How will he learn things in English? Why would you do that?
And like many parenting choices, I found myself having to justify my decision.
You see we are not native Spanish speakers in my household. In fact, I never knew anyone who spoke Spanish until I started learning it in middle school. What I found though was that I loved the language! So much so that I decided to minor Spanish in college. Unfortunately, I never became a fluent speaker. I had no one to practice with and I certainly couldn’t afford to study abroad. I came to feel that learning Spanish was a waste of time.
Flash forward several years to when my husband and I moved to Texas. I don’t need to tell you how many Spanish speakers are in our state. Hispanic, particularly Mexican culture, is everywhere! Man, if I could go back and kick myself in college I would! Since my son is lucky enough to grow up here, I want to make sure that he won’t make the same mistakes I did.
My desire is for him to be fluent in Spanish and my hope is that if he learns it early, he won’t find it to be such a challenge.
There are certain win
dows of opportunity for children to learn a second language. Preschool and grade school are the ideal times. Not only because their brains are still developing, but also because they learn things so rapidly and without hesitation. Part of why I never became fluent is because I was embarrassed if I said something wrong or I was speaking to someone I couldn’t understand.
Studies have shown that there are a number of benefits to speaking more than one language: increased vocabulary, improved memory, cognitive flexibility and even higher IQ in some cases.
Not to mention the opportunities later in life for potential jobs and for travel.
My son is a long way from being fluent, but he loves his school and is eager to learn, and I hope that I can help him along the way. I guess it’s time for me to dust off my college books and practica! Or is it practico? Well, you know what I mean!