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Dual Language School | English - Spanish

Cognitive Benefits of Simultaneous Language Development

There are many cognitive benefits for young children who are simultaneously exposed to more than one language. For example, they have greater neural activity and denser tissues in the areas of the brain related to memory, attention and language than monolingual learners. These indicators are associated with long-term positive cognitive outcomes for children (Bialystok 2001, Michelle et al., 2004; Kovelman, Baker, & Petite, 2006). 


Sequential Second Language Learners 

Sequential learners include children who have become familiar with one language, but are then introduced to a second language. At Little Star Preschool, children are introduced to Spanish in day to day routines, conversations, songs, books and interactions. We support children’s progression from the introduction of Spanish in an emergent setting. 


We support the Stages of Sequential Second Languages Learning

Stage I : Home Language Use

Children use their first or native language in their daily conversations and interactions. 

Stage II : Silent period 

In this stage, children are beginning to understand the second language but may not speak it. 

Stage III : Telegraphic and Formulaic Speech

Children will start to speak in the new or second language. In this stage, they will only speak in small utterances (e.g., Me down) or by repeating the words of others. 

Stage IV : Productive Language 

Children are now ready to express their own thoughts and construct their own sentences. In the beginning, their sentences may be very basic or grammatically incorrect; however, this improves over time. 


Parents of dual language learners should not be alarmed if their children exhibit any of the above behaviors (e.g., Silent Period). These behaviors are common for children who are learning a second language. Also, research has found that children who begin to learn a second language before the age of 6 or 7 are more able to speak the new language like a native speaker than children who didn’t start until after ages 6 or 7. 

The Multiple Benefits of Learning More Than One Language

Research strongly supports the benefits of bilingualism in Language, literacy, social and cognitive development. For example, bilingual children have performed better than monolingual speakers on measures of analytical ability concept formation, cognitive flexibility, and metalinguistic skills. 

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