Language Immersion is a method of teaching a second language, generally referred to as the target language. A language immersion program uses this target language as a teaching tool, not the subject, surrounding the student in this second language. All class activities and subjects, which include the areas of math, history, art, etc. and other activities such as meals and play, are conducted in the target language.
Intercultural Montessori's language immersion program provides a wonderful opportunity for children to learn a second language in a natural environment before the developmental window for language acquisition closes.
In our immersion classrooms, the children are free to speak in the language in which they feel comfortable but the teachers and assistants use only the target language. Immersion teachers realize that their students will not understand everything they say so they use a variety of methods to communicate including body language, context clues, gestures, exaggerated facial expressions, expressive intonation, visual aides, and objects to communicate their meaning.
In our preschool communities, it is common for the children to communicate in English. The older children in the classroom often act as natural, unprompted translators for the younger ones. In a very short amount of time, the children begin understanding basic instructions and information delivered by the teachers in the target language. We often see our children begin speaking spontaneously and expressing their own thoughts in their second language in less than a year.
Learning a second language has innumerable benefits on a child’s life. It increases creativity and enhances verbal and mathematical problem solving skills. The students develop an advantage in grasping and formulating concepts. These skills contribute profoundly to a child's self-esteem and their sense of values. Best of all, it prepares a child for life in the multi-cultural, multilingual world of the 21st century.