As you've surely heard by now, our school-wide theme for the 2017-18 school year is inclusion. Teachers of all grade levels and subjects have been working to incorporate this theme into curriculum throughout the year, and Spanish class is no different. In past blogs I've written about the neurological benefits of 2nd language acquisition, but today I want to also emphasize the more esoteric benefits of the study of world languages, especially in early childhood. A recent article in The Atlantic reviews studies that indicate that children who speak multiple languages are better at understanding other people. The data suggest that this is true not only those who are fluent but those who are simply exposed to another language in their daily lives. Inclusivity is made possible by empathy and the ability to understand and value differing perspectives and sets of experiences, and the study of world language tones and develops children's skills in these areas. Miss Emily and Miss Colette have a wonderful Loris Malaguzzi quote posted outside the Pre-K classroom, which reads "A child's most sought-after goal is to recognize themself in others, and to find in others parts of themself." As children are exposed to a new language, and as they begin to use that language themself, the langage and the people who speak it seem less different. Students are able to see commonalities more easily and it becomes easier to accept and even embrace a world in which all different kinds of people have a place.
~ Hailee Newman, Lower School Spanish Teacher