More Than A School


Call: 305-227-1149

Elementary School Kids As Foreign Language Learners

In language acquisition studies, there is this fascinating concept called a "critical period", a period of time where kids best learn language skills. When they grow out of that "critical period", learning grammar rules or a new language is difficult or impossible. Is there a cut-off age for learning a foreign language? Five years old? Eight? Eighteen? Science has provided many studies with slightly varying answers.

In an MIT-based research study published in May 2018 in the Cognition journal, it is suggested that children up until the age of ten can best learn new languages to almost native proficiency. The study also suggests that adolescents up until the age of 17 or 18 can competently learn new language grammar structures (one of the most difficult aspects of a language to internalize), but that skill drops sharply after about age 18. Past studies have suggested that the cut-off for native proficiency language learning is closer to age five or six. Despite the ongoing debate, the vast majority of researchers and experts agree on one thing: The earlier kids start being introduced to one or more languages aside from their native language, the better!

There is a misconception that teaching elementary school age children and younger a second language will confuse them, or stunt their progress in their native language. The good news is that these ideas have been found time and time again to be simply untrue. In fact, second language learning has an immensely positive impact on children's mental and emotional growth.

Language learning does amazing things to the human brain. When people are young, there are trillions of neural connections or pathways in our brains. As we grow, we use some of those connections and don't use others. The ones we don't use are "pruned" by our brains to make way for more important and complicated pathways. Pruning is a natural process our brain uses throughout our lives to prioritize information and skills that we use often. Studies have shown that the more experiences and information we are exposed to as children, the more pathways are allowed to grow and strengthen instead of being pruned. This could mean that we process new information quickly and more accurately later in adulthood, along with better recall of old information.

Learning a new language especially builds and sustains neural pathways. Essentially, it gives our brains an incredible workout. Even studies on language learning among the elderly have shown that their brains are peculiarly stimulated by new language concepts. Imagine what this does for young children, whose brains are so eager to soak in new information! Not only can children in the elementary school age range more easily attain native proficiency in a second language, they can use those same neural pathways to easily learn more languages, process patterns in math and music, and cultivate empathy.

Language is a practical skill too, of course. The value of language skills in the real world is immeasurable in that it opens opportunities for studying, living, working, and communicating among people of different cultures. Foreign language learners enjoy higher test scores on average and a leg-up on job hunts.

If you went to public school, you likely didn't experience any foreign language education until you were in junior high or high school. Private schools enjoy high enrollment of young children. Exactly 449,819 kindergarteners were enrolled in private schools during the 2011-2012 school year, more than any other grade level. This means they have a distinct responsibility to expose these children to language education at their peak potential.

As a private school for younger children, Conchita Espinosa Academy is very proud of our Spanish language program that includes elementary students. Part of our mission as a community is to instill an appreciation for, and general mastery of, foreign language skills across age levels. Our Spanish program starts out as early as kindergarten-age children, giving them a comfortable base to work off of as they have intensified Spanish classes in subsequent grades. We believe having language as a key part of our elementary school curriculum sets our students up for success. Science agrees, and we hope you will too.

"Education News - Blog posts not endorsed by Conchita Espinosa Academy"

Education News

Get Your Kids Back On Track: The Benefits of Temporary Remote Learning

Early Childhood Education and Quarantine: What You Need To Know

How Summer Camp Helps Children Overcome School Year Obstacles

How Can Summer Camp Positively Impact Children?

Extracurriculars Make The Big Difference

How School Builds Successful Young People

Life Lessons Learned In The Classroom

What Makes A Great Curriculum?

The Importance Of An Education In The Arts

Reasons Why Private Schools are Better Than Public Schools

What To Do When You Want To Change Schools For Your Child

The Top 5 Benefits of a Private Education for Your Child

4 Advantages Of Private Elementary Schools

Why Should You Choose A Private School For Your Kids?

6 Reasons to Send Your Child to a Private School

Education And The Arts: How Art In Preschool Stimulates Academic Learning

More Than Just Tests: 3 Activities That Make For Successful Students

Why Choose Private School for Your Child's Education

4 Spring Tips To Help Your Child's Education

How Does Your Child Develop During Elementary School?

4 Tips To Pick Out The Right Private Elementary School

Do Coed Classes Help Or Hurt Students?

Why Start Private School Early?

3 Benefits of a Private Preschool Education

The Top Extracurriculars For Your Elementary Student

Important Parts Of Education That Aren't In The Curriculum

How Private Education Can Help Early Cognitive Development

Does Private School Education Better Prepare You For College?

4 Tips To Pick Out The Right Private Elementary School

Beyond the Classroom: What The Stage Can Teach Young Students

How Can Parents Support Their Child's Education?

The Psychological Benefits Of Preschool For Your Child

3 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Preschool

What Age Should My Child Start Performing Arts?

Why Are Performing Arts So Important For Your Child?

Why Middle Schoolers Should Practice Theater

Keeping Your Child's Future Bright: The Growing Appeal Of The Individualized Private School Model

How To Choose the Best Extracurricular Activities

Elementary School Kids As Foreign Language Learners

Dance As A Tool For Growing Healthy Preschoolers

Reasons For Keeping Elementary Classrooms Co-Ed

How to Encourage Your Child to Enjoy Learning

3 Unparalleled Benefits to Sending Your Child to an Art Summer Camp

No Education Is Complete Without Extracurricular Activities

Why Your Child Needs to be Involved in the Arts

3 Reasons Private School Could Benefit Your Child with Special Needs

How Private Elementary Schools Set The Stage For Your Child's Greater Learning

3 Reasons Why Teachers Enjoy Working in Private Schools

How To Convince Your Child that Private School Is Right for Them

How to Help Your Child Deal with School Anxiety

3 Questions to Consider When Choosing Private School

Private School Enrollment on the Rise in 2017

Help Your Child Pass The Private School Interview With These Tips

3 Common Myths About Private Schools

3 Key Benefits a Private Middle School Can Offer Your Future-Focused Child

3 Tips for First-Time Parents Investing in a Private School Education

The Benefits of a Private School Education

3 Reasons a Private Elementary School Is The Right Choice

3 Questions To Ask When Considering a Private Elementary School

The Academic and Social Benefits of Attending a Private School

Why You Should Opt for a Private School Education

Teaching Empathy in Schools: Why This is Important

5 Ways to Prevent School Break Learning Loss

Parent's Guide to Understanding Benefits of the Arts

Private Schools Focus on Developing Healthy Minds, Bodies, and Spirits

Parents, Help Your Child Reach Educational Success With These Top Tips

3 Tips on How to Successfully Motivate Your Child From a Young Age

Private VS. Public School : What Really Is the Difference?

Five Long Term Benefits of Private Elementary Schools

4 Reasons to Choose a Private School Education


Our Founder
Faculty & Staff
From the Desk of



Early Childhood
Grades 1-4
Grades 5-8
Role of Technology
Spanish Program
The Arts

Junior School
Senior School

Clubs & Activities
Educational Travels
Student Writings
Lunch Calendar
Parent Center

Cross Country
Cougar Athletics


Alumni News
Legacy Tree
Faces of Conchita
Alumni Registration
Parents of Alumni
Click & Give



Conchita Espinosa Academy, 12975 SW 6th Street, Miami, FL 33184, Office: 305-227-1149, Fax: 305-225-0184

Conchita Espinosa Academy is accredited internationally, nationally and regionally by Accreditation International (AI), National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA), National Independent Private Schools Association (NIPSA) , the Middle States Association (MSA), COGNIA (previously SACS/AdvancEd), and the Association of Independent Schools of Florida (AISF). We are also members of the Independent Schools of South Florida (ISSF).


©2014 - 2020 Conchita Espinosa Academy. All Rights Reserved.  •   PRIVACY POLICY

Designed by an alumni, class of 1980.