Nowadays, Spanish is being taught in grades k-5. It also is being taught in junior high school, high school, and college.
However, many people are undecided on whether it is actually beneficial for small children to learn Spanish since at such a young age, they may not retain much and will most likely not be able to speak the language on any advanced level.
Children at this age may use the language for entertainment purposes. They may find the exercises fun and motivating. But are they really learning or is it a waste of time for small children to learn Spanish? There are a couple of different sides to this issue.
It is good for small children to learn Spanish because it teaches them about diversity. While many schools have many races attending them, there are still other schools around that are not very diverse at all due to the neighborhoods where the schools are located. Therefore, when a small child has the opportunity to learn Spanish, he or she can be exposed to a culture and race of people other than his or her own.
When a child learns about different cultures and races, he or she becomes more well- rounded and may become more likely not to have incidences in his or her life where he or she accidentally discriminates against someone of another race.
Also, small children who learn Spanish will most likely learn about Spanish food. Learning about different kinds of food from different cultures is valuable because it makes it seem as if other food exists besides unhealthy fast food or even the fried snacks found in school lunches. Learning about Spanish food may prompt a child to want to learn how to cook this type of food. If as an adult, the grownup child cooks Spanish food, soon his or her own children may start cooking the same food, and another culture may be spread amongst a household.
Learning Spanish will teach children more about the English language. Both Spanish and English have Latin roots. As a child learns Spanish on the basic level, he or she may be able to make connections between the Latin similarities in both Spanish and English. Such a connection may prove valuable later on as the child progresses to higher levels of learning and begins to grasp complex Spanish or English vocabulary. For instance, he or she may notice the similarities between Spanish the word “lavabo” and the English word “lavatory.”
In spite of all of the positive reasons to learn Spanish, there is also a case for not teaching Spanish to small children. These reasons can all be summed up into asking, “Is the child actually learning to speak a language or is he or she just learning cultural values that can be taught in a sociology class? Certainly at such a young age a child will not become fluent in the language. However, the jury is still out, and in any case, these kids are getting a head start on the many language requirements they will have to fulfill at the higher levels of learning.