At the French Academy, we believe in the transformative powers of a bilingual education. Exposing a child to more than one language at a young age is crucial. This early exposure takes full advantage of a child’s innate language-learning abilities and natural curiosity about the world.
Of course, as a school dedicated to bilingual learning, we also keep a careful eye on the research in the field.
Some key findings from recent years include the following*:
- Bilingualism at an early age enhances general cognitive development.
- The intellectual stimulation produced by the regular use of two languages enhances potential for abstraction, symbolism, conceptualization, and problem solving. The benefits of this stimulation are particularly remarkable in mathematics.
- Bilingual children score higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and achieve a higher grade point average.
- Bilingualism favors the learning process of a 3rd or 4th language.
- Bilingualism does not only provide academic advantages but also encourages an open mind and a tolerance toward differences and other cultures.
- According to research at Dartmouth College, multilingual children score 15 to 20 points better on IQ tests; have larger vocabularies than their peers; speak at an earlier age than most children; have more self-confidence; read sooner; and have fewer reading problems than their peers.
- They also have fewer temper tantrums because they are able to communicate their needs sooner and more effectively and generally perform at an overall higher level.
How does it work at the French Academy?
At the French Academy, children are taught to be bilingual with varying emphases on French and English.
At 2 years old, 90% of the curriculum is taught in French. Then, as the children get older the number of hours taught in English slowly increases (3 hours per week at 3 years old, 6.5 hours in first grade).
By fifth grade, they will receive an equal amount of teaching in French and English.
The ultimate goal is fluency in both languages. And, it works.
Many of our children started in our program without knowing a word of French, Louis, Charlotte, Daniel, Caity, Zoe, and many other…. Through our program, they were exposed, intrigued and eager to communicate.
Before the end of the school year, they were able to have a conversation with their teachers and classmates. Those in First Grade can read in French and English.
Your child can also enjoy similar success.
If you’re interested in the subject, click on the page “Articles” which provide excellent information and insights.
Here are the best articles about bilingualism published in 2016: http://frenchlanguage.frenchculture.org/news/best-articles-bilingualism-2016
You can also watch this report from Radio-Canada on the bilingual brain: