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Mariana Swick, a bilingual educator, has worked extensively to support the development of bilingual children in early childhood and elementary schools. Read more »
Sorry, Mariana Swick is no longer taking questions.
A group of children swayed to the steady rhythm of salsa music as they surveyed the store front of a local corner market. It displayed both English and Spanish advertisements, an eclectic lunch menu, and an array of labeled tropical fruits and vegetables. Before heading back to school from our community walk, I asked the group, "What do you notice?" One child responded with sheer delight, "¡Es bilingüe, como nosotros!" ("It's bilingual, like us!").
As a bilingual educator working to promote bilingualism and multiculturalism in the 21st century, I find such examples of cultural and linguistic fusion in the community a great source of pride and encouragement. Now, more than ever, parents
and educators are recognizing that our nation's cultural and linguistic diversity is one of its most defining characteristics and must be actively preserved.
More families are embracing their own heritage languages, ensuring that their children develop as bilinguals. In the same way, monolingual English-speaking families are pursuing academic programs that provide their kids with instruction in a second language (such as Spanish), so that they may have access to the many benefits of being bilingual.
According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, being bilingual:
Raising children who are global citizens means equipping them with the communicative tools to navigate a multilingual, multicultural world. The United States alone has the second largest Spanish-speaking population worldwide, and Spanish is spoken as the official language of 21 countries around the world. Many parents desire to open this world to their children through language but ask: How can I help my child learn a language we don't speak at home?
Even if you do not speak Spanish, there are many ways you can facilitate your child's Spanish language development through meaningful daily activities. Singing songs, cooking, and art-making are simple and fun ways to help children make sense of Spanish language in context.
Here are some ideas on how to support Spanish language learning through these and other activities at home:
Sorry, Mariana Swick is no longer taking questions. Feel free to comment on the article and let us know what you think about the topic.