January 2019 Newsletter – The Benefits of Multilingualism

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The diverse cultural origins of the families and teachers in our school benefits all of us by broadening our understanding of language, religion, politics and worldview. Across our schools are people from more than twenty countries speaking languages that include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Nepali, Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Russian, German, Polish, Lithuanian, Spanish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Dutch, Creole and English.

 

Understanding and appreciating the diversity in our language community is part of our curriculum. We teach Spanish and Chinese at our schools starting in the infant program and encourage all of our teachers to share language skills they have with the children.  Multilingualism supports greater flexibility and creativity in many cognitive areas including mathematics, science, visual arts, performing arts and any tasks that require executive function skills. In later life, speakers of multiple languages maintain memories more effectively and exhibit greater cognitive skill. For a brief summary of the literature, see www.uco.es/poling/multilingualism_plan/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Science-Bilingualism-Oct-141.pdf.

 

The overwhelming message from the literature is to speak your family language to your child at home and encourage your child to learn other languages whenever possible. It will not compromise your child’s ability to speak and understand English but on the contrary will enhance your child’s understanding of all language.

 

Please share with us any language materials you use with your child and take a look at resources we use at the school including www.mamalisa.com and http://www.chinasprout.com. Please also send any songs you would like to include in our family music project to music@sunshineacademy.com.  Thanks!

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Sunshine Academy

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