Choosing a Bilingual Preschool
A lot of families are beginning to search out bilingual or multilingual education for their little ones. Bilingual preschools offer instruction and curricula in two or more languages, creating a culturally diverse classroom for your little one to be immersed in, reflecting the culturally diverse world we live in. This is where cultural competence is nurtured. Cultural competence is the ability to appreciate, respect, and communicate with all people.
Proficiency in multiple languages is not the only benefit of choosing bilingual preschool as part of their early childhood education. Communication, creativity, and problem-solving are just some of the fields bilingual students tend to excel in as they grow up.
Learning and retaining multiple languages is easier for little ones than adults because their brains are still developing. Bilingual preschool programs allow daily practice and proficiency-building for each language. Bilingual Language Development Coach Mae Waugh Barrios states that, ideally, students spend half the time “in a language other than English.” Maybe you want a traditional program where the time spent on each language is split 50/50, or maybe a program more focused on a certain language is what you’d prefer for your little one’s early childhood education. No matter what type of program you are looking for, the right bilingual preschool for your little one is out there!
How Do I Choose?
Any and all questions you may have about your child’s early childhood education are important questions; don’t be afraid to ask too many! The best fit for your little one will be found by asking the important questions you have, ensuring your little one will feel safe, supported, and successful.
Questions you may have or want to ask about choosing a bilingual school in particular:
Teachers: Are they fluent in all languages used in the classroom? How many students to a classroom? What other goals are set in regards to using and retaining both languages?
Curriculum: How often is each language used? How does the curriculum support the use of both languages in the classroom? How does the curriculum nurture cultural competence?
Classroom: Is there a dominant language used in the classroom? How many little ones come from multilingual homes versus monolingual homes?
Question-wise, this is a great place to start when searching for your little one’s bilingual preschool. Whatever school you choose, your little one will experience the benefits of learning multiple languages early on; and as long as your little one is enjoying their early childhood education journey and thriving, it is the perfect fit!