Benefits of Language Immersion
Exposing your child to another language is a wonderful gift. In childhood, our brains are more receptive to learning another language, making it easier for young learners to achieve fluency with continued study of the second language. Additionally, recent research has documented some positive effects of language learning that extend into adulthood, including improvement in general cognitive skills. Learning to switch between linguistic systems seems to improve cognitive elasticity, giving bilinguals a leg-up with multi-tasking, problem-solving, and other executive functions throughout their lives. Several studies have even found that bilingual individuals were more resistant than monolinguals to the onset of dementia in later life, so the positive effects of language learning truly can span from childhood, to adulthood and beyond!
To read more about the benefits of immersion, visit:
Why Bilinguals Are Smarter via The New York Times
Vive la francophonie!
Learning a second language has a practical side as well, particularly in our increasingly cross-cultural world. There are over 220 million French-speakers in the world, and the international association of French-speaking countries and goverments, la Francophonie, comprises over 60 member states and observers. French is an official language in 29 countries (such as France, Canada, Haiti, and many African nations) as well as the overseas departments of France and a handful of other dependent entities such as French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, and many other islands around the globe. Speaking French is a useful skill for those who wish to travel or work abroad, and also provides a window into the rich cultural traditions of France and other French-speaking countries.
In Eugene, French Immersion education can begin as early as age 3 here at The Little French School. Many of our students continue developing their French skills at Charlemagne at Parker Elementary, a lottery-based public immersion school for grades K-5, and beyond through the French Immersion programs at Roosevelt Middle School and the International High School program at South Eugene High School. Whether students continue as 4J “Frenchies” or move on to other schools after Little French, we are pleased to be the first step in a life-long relationship with the French language for many students!
Learn With Your Child
If you are interested in learning French alongside your child, bravo! Starting early is great, but it’s never too late. Below, please find some helpful resources to help you follow along.
Online dictionary (English-French, French-English, plus verb conjugations): www.wordreference.com
Language guide including pronunciation help: http://www.languageguide.org/french/vocabulary/
(Free) Online Language Learning Resources:
- The downtown branch of the Eugene Public Library has an excellent selection of children’s picturebooks and other materials in French in the Children’s Wing. Ask a librarian for help!
Or, ask a teacher for a referral to a private French tutor.
Livret de Français
A French language guide for parents, written by Barbara Walraet and edited by The Little French School. Merci Barbara!