Why Teaching Spanish in Elementary School is Important

photo credit: Merrimack College via photopin cc
photo credit: Merrimack College via photopin cc

When it comes to education, Elementary school-aged children process information in a variety of ways in order for it to make sense to them. They process information on levels that are different than adults and can be taught a variety of subjects. Learning to speak Spanish is no different as they will retain what they have learned with greater accuracy. Giving a child a head-start in today’s world by speaking Spanish can be beneficial in a number of ways.

1. Bridging the Gap – In today’s society, especially in the United States, having the ability to speak Spanish can be greatly beneficial in one’s personal and professional lifestyle. Although many Spanish-speaking residents have learned to cope with not understanding English while they are out in public, it may not be necessary for these people to feel isolated from others. A child who learns a language at an early age can continue life translating for others and developing a stronger vocabulary as time continues.

2. Sponge Effect – Elementary aged children are essentially sponges when it comes to learning. Essentially, any language can be adsorbed easier by children than it can with adults. It has been proven that children are quicker to learn new subject matter than adults as their brains are still accepting information at a rapid pace as it develops. According to OnlineFreeSpanish.com, children brains are more pliable and readily accepting input in various forms where as adults have to concentrate more on memorization.

3. Interaction – There is almost a guarantee that your child will have Spanish speaking friends. Although most of these children will be able to speak fluent English, it can still be a cultural connection for your child to interact with a Spanish-speaking child on their own level. As time marches on, this certainty of interaction with Spanish-speaking individuals will multiply and having prior knowledge can help your child develop encompassing a new world of possibilities for social interaction and employment opportunities.

4. Easy to Practice – In the United States, Spanish is easily the second most spoken language in the country as a whole. According to the Answers provided on Yahoo, 16% of the country speaks Spanish. That means that nearly one out of every seven people you meet will speak Spanish. Of course, that’s statistically speaking and this number could greatly increase or decrease depending on your location.

Aside from having plenty of people to talk to in order to keep your skills honed, most products now-a-days have descriptions written in Spanish. It doesn’t take much effort to pick up a bag of chips and practice your Spanish by reading the other half of the label or product. Spanish is everywhere in the United States and finding material to practice with is as easy as going to the corner gas station to buy a pop.

5. Opens the Culture – By learning Spanish at a young age, a child can grow up appreciating the Hispanic culture in a way that adults wouldn’t expect. The child can find him or herself immersed with being able to translate a menu at a local Mexican restaurant. Learning the language of a culture is the first step into understanding it better and why people within it do the things they do. For a child, this could be quite an experience.

Regardless of the situation, learning to speak Spanish at an early age can help a child succeed throughout his or her life. The student could develop a talent for linguistic skills that could benefit learning other languages later on. As speaking Spanish is growing to be an ever demanding skill, why not give the child the ability to keep up with an ever growing society?

Paul Taylor
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14 thoughts on “Why Teaching Spanish in Elementary School is Important”

  1. I totally agree that a second language should be taught in elementary school and it doesn’t just have to be Spanish. I think any foreign language can be very beneficial and go a long way in that child’s development.

  2. Completly agree! I never had any exposure to a second language until I was a sophmore in high school and even though I tool 3 years of Spanish then, I hardly remember any of it 🙁

  3. I agree with starting your children to learn Spanish at an early age. I wish that my parents taught us Spanish when we were growing up, but my Dad said that he wanted us to learn perfect English and not be hindered with speaking broken English like saying ‘share” instead of “chair” like he does.
    I have now experienced not being able to secure jobs as many “require” you to be bilingual.

  4. Lots of great points and I agree completely. My son is two years old and we incorporate as much Spanish into his language lessons as we can. We’re learning along with him. 😉 He’s picking up some Spanish words faster than their English equivalents. Several people have given him some very amusing looks when he says “si” instead of “yes” or tells people he is “dos” when they ask his age.

  5. I completely agree with you, I am from Europe and we learn a second language far earlier than you currently do here.

  6. I wish they had taught a foreign language (especially Spanish) in my school when I was a little kid. It would have been so much easier I think, because now I am set in my way of thinking of how sentences are formed and it is so different in other languages that it confuses me.

  7. I agree that Spanish should be taught in elementary schools. It is critical for kids to learn languages at such a young age because that is when they absorb information most. With America growing more diverse every day, we should be more capable of communicating with those around us. We should open ourselves to other cultures and teach children acceptance. After taking Spanish in middle school until 10th grade, I quit because it was too difficult to grasp. I wish i had the opportunity to learn Spanish at a younger age. We should create this opportunity for kids in the near future so a foundation is set, and it will be easier to advance in the language as they get older.


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