The Democratic Party created waves this week by participating in a Univision debate. Instead of debating in English for English speaking voters, the candidates this time were appealing to the American hispanic community by actually debating for them, using Spanish.
Not surprisingly, the conservative party still has some catching up to do, and many appeared to be horrified by the latest outcome. Ann Coulter tweeted ?I?m watching a presidential debate in the United States tonight, being conducted in Spanish. Adios America!?
Debate Indicates a Changing Country
While the debate has had its naysayers, many people are instead seeing it as an important moment where Spanish-speaking communities are being actively engaged by the political community. Most countries in the world are bilingual by way of necessity and though English is considered an important international language, it is a second language to most people. Because English is a first language for most Americans, other language learning is often neglected. Now that so many people in the U.S. speak Spanish as a first language, however, Americans seem to be slowly waking up to understanding the value of knowing multiple languages.
Children Will Encounter a More Bilingual World Than Adults Today
Children growing up in the U.S. today are encountering a different landscape than current adults. The U.S., for example, is now home to more native and bilingual Spanish speakers than Spain, and by 2050 the Hispanic population in the U.S. will number over 130 million individuals. This means that many children born today will encounter workplaces that increasingly favor bilingualism, and on average bilingual employees earn 20% more than their monolingual counterparts.
Opting for a Spanish curriculum for kids is a great idea to get them immersed in the language from a young age. The brain is most flexible toward language learning in childhood; children age 8 and younger have brains that naturally acquire language more quickly. Though language learning is still possible later in life, it can take more time and effort to process unfamiliar sounds and grammatical structure. Preschool Spanish lessons often help kids learn in very natural ways, through games, Spanish story books, repetition and songs.
A Spanish curriculum for kids doesn’t have to be an all day event in order to be effective in creating a path for future learning. Just getting a feel for the structure of the language and pronunciation is incredibly important for future bilingualism.