Columbia Immersion School Teaches Children Second Language

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COLUMBIA - Language immersion is a method of learning a foreign language. One of the many settings of language immersion is preschool classrooms. One Columbia school is teaching children two years and older French as their second language. 

A recent study conducted by Northwestern University concluded speaking two languages helps improve attention. The research shows that both languages are always active in the brain of a bilingual person. While speaking or listening, bilingual people have to block out the other language to be able to focus on the language they wish to speak or hear. This results in developing better attention. 

Learning a language at young ages will help improve their attention as well as their cognitive learning abilities. "Children's brains actually learn to become more efficient," Language Tree French teacher Kate Gaudouen said. "Learning a second language will also help when learning a third language." 

The cognitive skills learned when becoming bilingual are not just related to language, but to all areas of learning. Research shows these skills even help shield against dementia in old age.

Gaudouen said that students typically start picking up the language just a few weeks or months after their first class. "Studies show that students who have spent time in an immersion setting are at average or above average in all subjects," Language Tree board member Jessica Diamond said. "It also helps with everyday problem solving." 

The Language Tree will soon be offering Spanish as a language immersion program. 

For more information visit The Language Tree