Language Immersion And Philly Primary Schools

In the book, Critical Issues in Early Second Language Learning: Building for Our Children’s Future Myriam Met collected a series of essays and studies on foreign language study in early childhood (abstract).

In sum, the essays assert that learning a second language at an early age…

  • Has a positive effect on intellectual growth.
  • Enriches and enhances a child’s mental development.
  • Leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
  • Improves a child’s understanding of his or her native language.
  • Gives a child the ability to communicate with people he or she would otherwise not have had the chance to know.
  • Opens the door to other cultures and helps the child understand and appreciate people from other countries.
  • Gives the child a head start in language requirements for college.
  • Increases job opportunities in many careers in which knowing another language is a real asset.

An interesting point that is made in the book is that skills in more traditional disciplines like math and English do not suffer as a result of the time taken away for language study.  In fact, the contrary was found to be true.

The book does not make much of a distinction about whether these benefits are more pronounced with an immersion program or not.  I tend to think that if you care about having your child learn and retain another language, immersion is the best method.  Given these benefits, I was somewhat surprised to learn that only a few area schools offer language immersion programs.  The only elementary schools in the Greater Philadelphia region that I know of that offer elementary school language immersion are (alphabetically):

Please let me know if I left any out.

Personally, it is important to me that my kids have exposure to another language at an early age.  Immersion programs are attractive to me, but not essential.  A school that has no foreign language programs in the early grades may automatically be taken off of the list of schools that I am considering.

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2 Responses to “Language Immersion And Philly Primary Schools”

  1. Gustavo Says:

    I heard about immersion programs when I used to work in Texas. Despite being Texas, the state was pretty adamant in pursuing this path for the younger classes and, this is just my memory working, they were achieving better results than those prior classes that didn’t have the immersion option. This leads me to think, or remember that old buddy who once said knowledge of language is knowledge.

  2. More On Language Immersion « Philly School Search Says:

    […] Language Immersion And Philly Primary Schools […]


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