WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BILINGUAL?
Bilingual people are those who are able to speak, read and write correctly in two languages and are able to switch effortlessly between the two.
If we look at the whole world, bilingualism is the norm, not the outlier. Only 13 percent of all UN countries are officially monolingual. Even in the United States, which is widely considered to be monolingual, Spanish is the second most spoken language.
It is never too late to learn a new language but it is true that the sooner the better. For a long time bilingualism was considered negative: The overwhelming opinion was that such an upbringing could cause confusion, especially in small children. Then in 1962, a study from Peal and Lambert that looked at the relationship between intelligence and language fundamentally altered the outlook. More recent studies have even claimed that bilingual people have a stronger “meta-linguistic awareness,” which applies to problem solving in areas outside of language, such as mathematics. Learning a new language is like exercise for the brain: it helps stimulate and increase brain connections.
Many of our students start in our program without knowing a word of Spanish. Through our program, they are exposed, intrigued and eager to communicate. Before the end of the school year, Maryel students are able to have a conversation with their teachers and classmates. Those in First Grade are able to read in Spanish and English.