Spanish Language Instruction
As a Christian Education Institution, we feel that learning a foreign language is an important way for students to increase in their mission-mindedness. This gives them the tools necessary to function better in society, as well as prepare them for a lifetime commitment to God, and a heart for missions.
Studies have shown that teaching Spanish or any second language to children at an early age greatly improves their chances of achieving fluency and a native-like accent. And, of course, the benefit of having a different lens from which to view and experience the world is a wonderful gift for a child. In fact, all of the scientific evidence points to children having nothing to lose and everything to gain by learning a foreign language.
We use a major nationally-known computer software. This software program utilizes a combination of images, text, and sound, with difficulty levels increasing as the student progresses, in order to teach various vocabulary terms and grammatical functions intuitively, without drills or translation. The goal is to teach languages the way children learn their first language.
Does teaching Spanish to children hinder their reading ability?
A classic and comprehensive study published in the Modern Language Journal and undertaken by Dr. T.C. Cooper as early as 1987 showed that "the length of foreign language study" was an important variable in predicting SAT performance. The College Board, which administers the SAT, releases a statistical report giving information about SAT performance across the country. Year after year the results are similar. As recently as 2006, seniors with four or more years of language study averaged over 50 points higher in the Critical Reading section of the SAT than those who had only a half year or less of foreign language.
What about teaching Spanish early? Learning a second language sharpens a child's awareness, skills and usage for the child's first language. Research at the elementary school level shows the same trends of higher test performance. In Louisiana, a study of 13,200 third and fifth grade children revealed that children who take foreign language classes did better in the English section of the Louisiana Basic Skills Test than those who had not studied a foreign language.