It’s a myth that learning a second language can interfere with a child’s development. Juggling multiple languages is actually good for you. Managing two or more languages is a mental workout. The muscles of working memory grow stronger, boosting retention and recall speed. And because this mental juggling requires concentration and coordination, multilingual students steadily improve their ability to focus. Learning a new language also deepens the understanding of how all languages work, so multilingual students perform better on tests of reading comprehension and vocabulary. Finally, new languages force students to create meaning from unfamiliar cultural and symbolic systems, which increases cultural awareness, empathy, and tolerance of other people.
As a result, knowledge of a foreign language can equip a student with very valuable skills necessary to stay on top of their academic studies and outpace the competition in today’s global marketplace. At St. Andrews, we equip our students with foundations in two foreign languages: German and Spanish.
Spanish is taught to students in first grade through fifth grade. Throughout these grades students build basic linguistic skills in Spanish, and learn to recognize basic language patterns, respond appropriately to simple commands, respond to and ask simple questions with prompts, imitate pronunciation, intonation and inflection including sounds unique to Spanish, produce language using proper pronunciation, intonation and inflection, use common forms of courtesy, greetings and leave-takings appropriate to the time of day and relationship, recognize the written form of familiar spoken language, describe people, activities and objects from school and home, comprehend illustrated stories, audiovisual programs or websites, etc.
German instruction begins in Middle School and continues sixth through eighth grades. St. Andrews German program is unique. As a highly recognized and comprehensive three-year program, St. Andrew’s German program represents one of the few German language programs at the middle school level in the greater Chicago area.
There are some very compelling reasons why German greatly enhances your child’s education. Here are a few:
Germany is the world’s third-largest exporter: only China and the United states export more goods and services.
The German economy ranks number one in Europe and number four worldwide. Its economy is comparable to that of ALL the world’s Spanish-speaking countries combined.
German has the largest number of native speakers in the European Union (far more than English, Spanish, or French).
German is among the ten most commonly spoken languages in the world. It is also a lingua franca of Central and Eastern Europe.
Germans are world leaders and innovators in engineering and technology.
German is the second most commonly used scientific language in the world.
German is indispensable for study in music, religion, philosophy, physics, and many other subjects.
German is the language that is MOST often required or recommended in academic programs.
Many of the Western world’s most important works of philosophy, literature, music, art history, theology, psychology, chemistry, physics, engineering and medicine are written in German and continue to be produced in German.
German and English are similar. Many words in German sound and/or look the same as equivalent English words, because the two languages share the same “grandparent.” For example, look at these words: Haus = house, Buch = book, Finger = finger, Hand = hand, Name = name, Mutter = mother, schwimmen = to swim, singen = to sing, kommen = to come, blau = blue, alt = old, windig = windy, etc.
Clearly, the German language takes a commanding presence in today’s global society, and a knowledge of German better equips students with the tools necessary to excel in our world. With the sound foundation in German provided at St. Andrews, students are a step ahead on their way to becoming leaders in this global village we live in today!