Trilingual Language Program
Our trilingual language program complements a young child’s natural predisposition to new sounds and rhythms. As Maria Montessori’s observations and current brain research has shown, children’s sensitive period to language is from 0 to 6 years old. Their brains are open to absorbing new information of all kinds - especially new languages.
At Battery Park Montessori, we expose our children to both Mandarin and Spanish throughout the day. Students in our preschool morning program, afternoon program and all toddlers gain light exposure to Mandarin and Spanish, while our full-day preschool students receive explicit language instruction in Spanish and Mandarin in the afternoons.
Children are encouraged to interact and express themselves in all languages on a daily basis. Children learn from Montessori-trained teachers who are native Spanish and Mandarin speakers and who fully engage the children in daily conversations, singing, and vocabulary. Lesson content like geography, practical life, and art also are delivered in Mandarin and Spanish in the form of classical Montessori education.
Why Spanish and Mandarin?
Spanish and Mandarin are the most spoken languages in the world. In exposing our children to Spanish and Mandarin, we hope to foster their global appreciation for and understanding of their peers and neighbors worldwide.
We also expose our children to Spanish and Mandarin to help them with other disciplines, such as literacy and math, and to further develop their executive function:
- To learn a language, one must learn to decode that language, and decoding, within itself, is a universally beneficial and transferable skill - especially with regards to literacy and comprehension. For instance, learning Spanish can reveal the Latin roots for English words making it easier for children to decode and understand English text and vocabulary.
- Research has shown that learning Mandarin, particularly distinguishing its four tones for the same basic sound, develops the brain’s temporal lobes which has a positive effect on the way non-language content, such as math, is processed.
- Learning languages encourages children to rely on their working memory and mental flexibility. Memorizing songs, seeing patterns in language, understanding the relationships between words within one language and across others...this is all helpful in developing the brain’s executive function.
What if my child does not speak Mandarin and/or Spanish?
Both native and non-native speakers benefit equally from our language program: Native speakers not only refine their language skill, but develop self esteem and leadership, plus greater enthusiasm about the language as they see their non-native peers learning. Non-native speakers will have exposure to new sounds and their meanings during an ideal developmental period for language acquisition. Early exposure to a new language helps develop a number of skills and broadens a child’s horizons in many ways.