Learning a second language doesn’t stop when the school bell rings. After a day at a Spanish immersion preschool, a child’s brain continues to soak up language. Kids learn a new foreign language faster than adults because their bilingual brains rapidly build new neural connections, and they experience increased cognitive development and abilities. That means the home is just as important as the classroom for their early language development. Here are some tips for supporting your child’s Spanish language immersion at home.
Pick up a Spanish language book and, if you can, read it to your child before bedtime. Even better, get your child to read it to you. A captivating narrative, whether a fairytale or a fantasy novel, can spark your child’s imagination and make it easier for them to contextualize the vocabulary they learned at preschool. You and your child can immerse yourselves in the beauty of the Spanish language night after night.
#2. Turn on the TV
Your child can improve their language skills just by sitting on the couch. Spanish language TV networks like Univision and Telemundo have various programs for children, and Netflix has an ever-growing catalog of Spanish cartoons. All these shows can improve language comprehension, pronunciation, and grammar: Research shows that language learners who watch foreign-language shows outside of school are better at listening, reading, and vocabulary proving that there is such thing as productive screen time (limited in duration).
#3. Talk to Your Child’s Preschool Teacher
Communicating with your child’s preschool teacher builds better home-school connections for successful Spanish immersion. Ask about the curriculum your child is learning and what you can do to support their language development. That way, you’ll never get lost in translation. Together, you and your preschool can further your child’s bilingual education and promote better learning outcomes.
#4. Listen to Spanish Music
Did you know music could be the most powerful tool in your immersion home toolkit? That’s because kids who grow up listening to music develop brain pathways that strengthen their language-learning skills. There are hundreds of thousands of Spanish language songs on music apps like Spotify, and you can introduce your child to incredible Latin genres like salsa, flamenco, and zarzuela. Alternatively, explore the back catalogs of popular contemporary artists like Selena, Gloria Estefan, and Ricky Martin. All these melodies and rhythms could help your child retain Spanish words and expressions with greater clarity.
#5. Learn About Spanish Culture
A child that immerses themselves in the Spanish culture, as well as the language, can improve their comprehension of vocabulary, grammar, and other linguistic principles. Discovering how native Spanish people live and communicate might improve engagement and foster the language-learning process. So take your child to a Spanish, Mexican, or Peruvian restaurant — there are hundreds in the San Francisco Bay Area — or a family-friendly Latino event. Learning about Spanish culture is an amazing way for your child to improve their language skills and have fun at the same time.
#6. Download Spanish Language Learning Apps
Spanish language learning apps can help your child improve their bilingual skills at home. All you need is a smartphone and an internet connection. There are loads of these apps to download to your iPhone or Android, and many of them are completely free. Here are a few to consider:
Preschool – Spanish (Team Madlab)
Designed for 2-7-year-olds, this Android app teaches basic language topics like the Spanish alphabet, numbers, and colors.
Spanish School Bus (Chungaboo)
The child-friendly version of one of the world’s most popular language-learning apps, Duolingo Kids teaches Spanish phrases and vocab through games and animated characters. It’s available on iOS.
Before You Go
Parents are teachers, too! Spanish language immersion might start in the classroom, but it continues in the living room, the kitchen, and the backyard. Follow the six tips above and support your child’s language development at home when preschool starts again this fall.
KSS Immersion Preschools is now enrolling children aged 2-6 in Spanish language programs for fall 2021. For over 20 years, KSS has supported the social and learning development of children in the San Francisco Bay Area. Schedule at tour!