What Is Immersion and Why Is It So Beneficial for Young Children?
“A Different Language is a Different Vision of Life” – Frederico Fellini
What is Immersion?
Immersion is a way of teaching a foreign language where the language being taught is the only one used for classroom instruction. Instead of memorizing words, children absorb the language.
We believe an immersion education is a gift that you give to your children. We see every day what research has proven—when your child is privy to language immersion, their brains are stretched in new and numerous ways. Studies indicate that language immersion has a positive effect on intellectual growth and enriches and enhances a child’s mental development.
Families who do not speak Spanish at home sometimes have concerns that this will impede their child’s grasp of the language. This is where the process of immersion is especially valuable. Because your child is being spoken to exclusively in Spanish throughout their school day, they are getting enough exposure to master the language without using Spanish at home. Of course, practicing at home or with other Spanish speakers is always helpful, but not necessary.
Occasionally, touring families will ask us if children feel “lost” or “confused” in their first moments of their Mis Amigos immersion experience. We assure them that our teachers and staff have developed techniques for making everything very clear to the children. They learn Spanish in the same way that they learned their first language—with the use of lots of gestures, facial expressions, and other cues to explain and teach. And research shows that children acclimate quicker to a foreign language and learn sooner than adults do.
An old Czech proverb says, “As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being.” At Mis Amigos, your child is not only learning Spanish, but they are also being exposed to different cultures and people. They are being enriched in so many aspects. “Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it, is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children.” (Michael Gove, UK Secretary for Education ’10-14.) By beginning their education journey at Mis Amigos, we truly are opening up the world to them.