Oct 08

Does Learning Spanish or Mandarin Make Kids Forget English?

It’s natural to worry that learning a second language will make your child forget English. Although adults seem to forget one thing as soon as they learn another, kids’ brains work differently – especially in language.

Learning Spanish or Mandarin Will Not Interfere with Remembering and Using English


Because a child’s first language is such a significant part of his or her life, your child will naturally learn the fundamentals of English grammar without being taught. Once they reach school age, of course, they’ll be formally taught grammar rules. According to psychologists, this unconscious learning process is stored very early on in the brain and acts as a skill one can never forget, like riding a bike. In fact, language scientists have found that learning another language actually improves a child’s ability to speak and write grammatically correct English.

Moreover, numerous studies involving children learning other languages found that by encouraging children to contrast and compare the rules of another language, their ability to differentiate between the two languages is dramatically improved. This minimizes or even eliminates the potential for the second language to interfere with using the English language.

The "Bilingual" Brain

Did you know that the brain is like a muscle? Like any other muscle, the brain needs continuous exercise to keep it functioning as its optimal rate. One of the best ways to exercise the brain is by learning how to speak, read and write in another language. By utilizing neurons that are vital for relaying messages throughout the brain, this maintains the high-order operations that the brain performs, such as organizing, memorizing details, and expressing ideas.

Children exposed to two languages from an early age often develop what neuroscientists call a "bilingual brain" that is capable of processing languages through the brain's left hemisphere. However, children who are older than 12 often experience more difficulty learning another language because researchers discovered that older "bilinguals" experience the language learning through the right hemisphere of the brain, which seems to delay the ability to "pick up" another language. (This could also explain why adults have a harder time with a new language.)

Further, when children have the ability to express themselves in a second language, it heightens their ability to articulate their thoughts and ideas in their native language.

Why It’s So Important to Learn Another Language

Living in a world that’s as culturally and linguistically diverse as ours, knowing a second language like Spanish or Mandarin is becoming increasingly necessary for children. The good news is, that knowledge won’t affect their English.

Oct 01

How Long Will it Take for My Child to Become Fluent?

If you are considering enrolling your child in a program that teaches a second language, we can probably guess the first question on your mind: How long will it take? Unfortunately, our answer isn’t so direct: it depends.

It depends on age, time commitment, if there is full or partial immersion in the target language, and how you define fluency.


Conversational fluency is much more quickly attained than fluency in reading and writing, and is incremental based on grade level.

However, as bilingual professionals, we can provide you with our best estimates based current Jump! Immersion School current students, and scores met with SOPA (Student Oral Proficiency Assessment).

  • For full-time children under twelve years old learning Spanish: At Jump!, we predict roughly 9 months to one year to become conversationally fluent.

  • For part-time children under twelve years old learning Spanish: At Jump!, we predict roughly one year to eighteen months to become conversationally fluent.

  • For full-time children under twelve years old learning Mandarin: At Jump! we predict roughly one year to 18 months to become conversationally fluent.

  • For part-time children under twelve years old learning Mandarin: At Jump! we predict roughly 18 months to 2½ years to become conversationally fluent.


Age Consideration

Age is an incredibly important factor when answering the question “how long will it take to become fluent?” Generally, younger students (five and under) have the capacity to learn a language much more quickly than students older than five years old. Older students, eight or nine and older, may learn slightly slower than toddlers or younger children.

Time Commitment

Time commitment is essential when becoming fluent in another language. We recommend at least one hour daily of speaking the target language aside from lessons or programs your child is already in.

Language Learned

There is a difference in the time it takes to become fluent across languages. Generally, it takes students less time to become conversationally fluent in Spanish than it takes students to become conversationally fluent in Mandarin.

Immersion

For full immersion, the length to learn any new language shrinks exponentially. This is why when learning a new language, language professionals highly recommend some form of immersion to hone conversational skills. At Jump!, our method in teaching language fluency is grounded in immersion, and maintain that this is the best way to achieve full conversational fluency.

If you have any more questions on language fluency, feel free to call one of Jump’s centers for more in-depth responses from our education and language professionals.

Sep 24

Questions to Ask During Back to School Night

It’s that time of year again. Your child is heading to school, backpack and lunchbox firmly in place, to join their classmates for school. While your child may or may not have back to school anxiety, you may have reservations of your own.

To ease your conscience, many Preschool Directors are willing to sit down and answer any questions you may have about your child, his/her interactions with new classmates, and beyond. To get you started, Jump! has compiled a list of smart questions to ask as your child starts school.

Questions to Ask Your Child's Teacher During Back to School Night



What is your philosophy?

If you haven’t already gone on a private tour, consider asking the preschool director to accompany you around the center, personally meeting the teachers your child will interact with, and asking your child’s main teacher their philosophy, training, and qualifications. This will ensure that you have a solid idea of the environment your child will spend the next nine months in. Not to mention, if you have a relationship with your child’s teacher, your child is bound to feel more comfortable because of that connection.

How do you discipline your students?

Discipline is one of the most important facets of preschool education. How does a teacher focus on the strengths and weaknesses of a child? If one child is unruly, how will the teacher react? Will they lash out, discipline them with anger, give the silent treatment, or passively ignore it?

Since discipline is essential, we recommend you brief your child’s teacher on how your child reacts to discipline. Perhaps he/she shuts down at harsh discipline, or only responds to “tough love.” In either case, it’s very important to make sure your child succeeds in a way that’s best for them, and by fostering a relationship with the teacher, you are ensuring that success.

What are your academic standards?

Depending on which level your child is at, academics may be assessed loosely, or, if your child is at a more transitionary phase where grades are introduced, some insight will be useful. If this teacher is known to be tough on academics, you will have enough preparation at home to help with homework and assignments. Or, perhaps your child loves a challenge – in which case, you can ask the teacher to keep an eye on his progress to prevent boredom.

What can I do to facilitate academic and social success?

It’s always important to know how to answer the age-old question: “Mom, can you help me with my homework?” Your child’s teacher can provide valuable insights to help retention, knowledge, and learning progress at home. Perhaps this means challenging your child with mental math flashcards, or writing exercises. The best way to find out is to ask.

Do you have any references?

It’s always important to connect with other parents that have had successful experiences – they can act as a support system for you and make the transition for you and your child much easier. If you’re experiencing some doubt, helpful references can clear your misgivings and rest easily that your child is getting the care he/she needs.

In all, the most important reality to face is that your child will be successful – your job in asking questions is to discover how to continue that success.

Sep 17

Still Managing Back To School Anxiety?



Tips to Help Your Child Overcome Back to School Anxiety

As a fun summer winds down to an end, many young children may experience anxiety about returning to school this Fall – especially if your child is an incoming transfer student. Before the first day, many children may pretend to have a fever or freeze right before they open the school doors, asking themselves: Will I meet new friends? Will the teacher like me? Will the homework be too hard?

The good news is, back to school anxiety is normal in young children and is easy to quell once you pinpoint the cause.

Finding the Root of Your Child’s Anxiety

Talking with your child is the best way to get to the heart of the issue. If your child is shy you may ask her/him how many children he/she thinks will be in the class to help them start talking about their fears and feelings. For some shy children, joining a large class may be the source of their anxiety. For others, they might be anxious that they won’t have enough friends or the teacher may not be nice. If your child is a high achiever they may worry that they won’t receive the best grades in the class, or even fail.

If your child is worried about academics, be sure to remind them of all the times they have succeeded and that the teacher and you will be there to provide support when they need it.

If your child is shy, acknowledge their struggle to accept an overwhelming environment with new students they haven’t met before. Remind them that at one point, their best friend was a stranger and that maybe the next stranger they meet will be their next best friend.

If your child is anxious about changing schools, try role-playing. Pretend to be a new friend that your child will meet at school and have a friendly conversation with them. If that works, keep changing the setting. Pretend to be a student at the cafeteria, or at recess. With time, they will slowly become more comfortable with making new friends.

Establishing a Continuance Plan

Once your child starts their new school year, keep the conversations flowing. Try not to settle for “good” and “fine” or shrugs when you ask how their day went at school. Continue the communication to pinpoint if your child is still feeling anxious or shy.

If your child still feels anxious, consider talking to his/her teacher and getting to the root of your child’s anxiety. Perhaps you can suggest more teacher interaction with your child or placing your child into small-groups to facilitate interaction and friendship.

At home, you can take your child to the park to make friends with other children to provide a more familiar, comfortable environment. Gently encouraging your child to step outside their boundaries to make a new friend can build a confidence will work just as effectively.

Most importantly, your child will always know that he/she has a home at Jump! 

Sep 10

6 Ways the Jump! Method Teaches Children to be Fluent

The Jump! method helps your child learn to speak Spanish or Mandarin — naturally! From in-depth studies to singing and dancing, here are six ways Jump! makes learning a second (or third) language easy.


1. Tested Reading and Writing Methods

Jump! teaches the "target languages" (be it Spanish or Mandarin) to children in the same way they learn English — high frequency words or characters and memorization help them pick up a second language comfortably in the initial stages.

2. Music to the Ears

Children enjoy singing, and Jump! takes full advantage of that by taking vocabulary words and turning them into catchy songs that students can sing at home. Teachers additionally share songs from their homelands that preschoolers know and love.

3. Everything Happens in Spanish...and Mandarin

Jump! uses native speaking teachers so all conversations take place in the target language. From encouragement to verbal and visual cues, your child won't hear a word of English or "less than a handful of English words.”

4. Structure Means Everything

Children crave structure, which is why the Jump! program is very organized. Jump! kids always know exactly where they’re going to sit, what they’re going to do, and where they’re going next. This way they don’t need to pay attention to the little things, so they can focus on learning.

5. Go Ahead — Act Out

Another way Jump! teaches the Target Languages is dramatization -- acting out the story or lesson being taught. Children are told what to do in the Target Language and are encouraged to respond physically. Based on noted professor James Asher’s “Total Physical Response” method, dramatization works especially well for younger children.

6. Experience-based Learning

The Jump! program strongly believes in learning through experience — making art, cooking and more. We even stage plays to help our kids get over their fear of speaking the Target Language in public.

The Takeaway

If you're like most parents, a high-quality education for your kids is a top priority. Jump! delivers exactly that — in a fun and entertaining setting that sets the stage for academic excellence, at Jump! and afterwards.

Sep 06

Make Sure Your Child's Language Lessons "Stick" With this Easy Tip

Teaching your child a new language is one of the best things you can do for them. However, some parents find that motivating a child to practice is difficult.

A variety of factors contribute to boosting motivation, such as positive incentives, or a safe environment to practice new skills. The most important skill, however, is simply ensuring the child practices enough to retain his or her new language skills.

So, how can you make learning Spanish and/or Mandarin education fun so that your child is willing to practice?

How About… a Tent?

It may sound a little out of the ordinary, but here at Jump! we recommend a method that works every time: set up a tent.


The tent doesn’t have to be anything grandiose — a $30 pop tent from Wal-Mart is all you need. Even blankets draped over the backs of some dining room chairs will do. For an extra bonus, line the tent with twinkle lights and set down some colorful pillows in cultural parallel to the language your child is learning.

The important factor here is that you create a special location that's "fun" and geared towards at-home language immersion. The tent could be in your backyard, in the living room, or in the rec room. The goal is to create a location where, once your child steps into the tent, he or she feels excitement. Your job is to direct that excitement towards language-learning.

The Secret Ingredient to Mastering the Tent Method:

Spend at least 30 minutes a day in the tent, and when you’re in there, your child can only speak Spanish or Mandarin.

Consider it a game: perhaps the tent “transports” you to a Spanish or Mandarin-speaking country — and the only way to communicate with each other is through this new language.

Decorate the tent to include Spanish or Mandarin-themed clothing or accessories. Use lots of color. You might even bring along a flashlight and music CD’s in Spanish or Mandarin to make it even more authentic (and fun!).

However, once your child understands the language-only rule, it's time to practice. Don’t worry about what you talk about… As long as you do so in Spanish or Mandarin, there are no rules.

Before you get into the tent, review your child’s lesson plan for the day. Once inside, go over it together. Work on the language together if you are both learning. Jump!’s curriculum is very thorough and offers vocabulary words to follow if you yourself are learning Spanish or Mandarin. You can easily follow along.

Most importantly, make sure the activity is fun for both of you. It should not be a punishment to practice in this way.

Trust Us, the Tent Method Works

The Tent Method is positive reinforcement at its best. As your child learns to speak Spanish or Mandarin in the tent, he or she will become more comfortable with the learning process. Language-learning aside, the important factor is not just that he or she is practicing Spanish or Mandarin, but that the child is receiving — and enjoying — the one-on-one time with you.

Ultimately, your child will effectively practice learning another language while developing a closer bond with you – what more could you ask for?

Aug 31

Common Questions About Immersion Enrichment Programs

If you have decided to place your child in an immersion enrichment program to give them a more robust academic support system, congratulations! Your child is on their next step to language fluency and academic confidence.

However, if you have never enrolled your child in an enrichment program before, we understand that you may have some questions -- and Jump! is here to answer them.

1.  Will an enrichment program burn out or confuse my child?

This is a common question that we receive. Many parents believe that outside of school, children won’t want to engage in other academic work, or will be too busy with homework and other extracurricular activities. They wonder if adding language immersion to the mix may feel more confusing, especially if your child is young.

At Jump’s immersion enrichment programs, we combine fun with learning. Your child will improve their academic and language skills and have so much fun they won’t even notice. From storytelling to cooking lessons, your child won’t burn out or get confused.


2.  Will learning another language interfere with learning English?

Many wonder if learning another language will interfere with learning English in schools, but this is a common myth. In fact, bilingual children are more likely to be academically successful, which is why a bilingual supplemental education is invaluable.

Child psychologists have researched bilingualism and its effects on early childhood development, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. The benefits range from social development to having a more flexible approach to solving problems.

In addition, students who are bilingual rather than monolingual have greater empathy and capacity to connect with others.

Download this article which has even more information:

The Benefits of Being Bilingual (PDF) The Benefits of Being Bilingual (PDF)


3.  My child is older... Will it interfere with other homework and assignments for school?

If your child is approaching middle school, we understand concerns around homework and other extracurricular activities. While we understand that these concerns may begin surfacing, our program is designed for children under the age of 12 in mind and will not distract from homework and other assignments.

We believe that language immersion is an extremely valuable extracurricular activity, one that aids in all areas of development, creates a safe environment for children to learn, and provides them a life-long skill.

If you have any more questions regarding our immersion enrichment programs, we want to answer them! Please feel free to call our Edison or Livingston centers for more information.

We will see you soon!

Aug 24

5 Key Benefits of Our Saturday Immersion

Academic transitions can be difficult, especially if you have a child moving up to elementary or middle school. Tests become more significant, projects more in-depth, and essays become more difficult to navigate.

In situations like these, extra support may be necessary to foster a discipline in your child so that they know that while the weekends are fun, some work can be helpful. Jump! recognizes the importance of fostering a sustainable work ethic from a young age, which is why we offer Saturday Immersion at our Edison and Livingston locations.

With our specialized differentiated learning methods, children receive a thematic approach to language immersion and academic support in all areas. If your child already takes Spanish or Mandarin in school, then they will become more advanced more quickly. If they don’t, this can make room in your child’s school schedule to pick up another language!

If your child takes a Saturday Immersion Class at Jump!, expect these five core benefits:

#1 -- Consistency is the key to fluency

At Jump!, we firmly believe that consistency is the key to fluency. The more you practice, the more you will know. The best way to learn any language is simply to practice, so taking extra immersion classes on Saturday, where children are exposed to a fun approach to writing, listening, and speaking skills, they’re guaranteed to succeed in their target language.

#2 -- It eases the transition to school

Not only will Saturday Immersion classes aid in language development, but it will help ease the academic transition to elementary or middle school. Being a part of a fun, nurturing environment will foster a genuine love for learning and provide more confidence in classes. If your child is taking the target language in school, then it will make them more advanced, more capable, and give them more time to dedicate themselves to other challenges.

#3 -- It’s offered in levels with Jump’s signature method

As part of Jump’s differentiated learning method, each child’s education is specifically tailored. Offered for children age 5-12, Jump! mastered how to give each child a pinpointed approach to language learning in a way that’s so fun, they won’t even realize they’re learning!

#4 -- Well-rounded curriculum to bridge the gap

For our Saturday Immersion classes, we offer a curriculum in four target areas: Reading, listening, speaking, and writing. This gives our students an encapsulating approach to learning the target language.

We also supplement these four target areas with storytelling, games and arts & crafts so that they can learn all while having fun!

#5 -- Cultural knowledge

Perhaps one of the best parts of enrolling in Saturday Immersion classes is the emphasis on a cultural education on the target language. Children are exposed to traditional food, art, music, and expressions of tradition.

Combined, these five core benefits make up the global advantage that Jump! offers to all of its students. From cultural knowledge to differentiated learning, your children will have something to look forward to on weekends -- and learn a new language in the process.

If you have inquiries about Saturday Immersion or want to schedule a tour, please contact us at our Edison or Livingston center. We can’t wait to have you!

Aug 15

Should You Supplement Preschool with an Enrichment Program?

After your child comes back from school, they might do homework or relax in preparation for the next day. But, if your child is struggling -- what if homework isn’t enough?

Enrichment programs are a great way to solidify lessons learned throughout the school day, help your child understand their individual interests, and foster a genuine love for learning and trying new things. There are a multitude of benefits for the right program, from improving classroom behavior to boosting social and academic growth.

At Jump!, we believe that enrichment programs are vital for a child’s development, especially if you choose the right program. Read more about some of the benefits that could accompany your child if they are enrolled in an enrichment program.

It promotes invaluable leadership skills and self-discovery.

According to the Boys and Girls club, over 80% of teens are part of extracurricular activities in high school and continue through college. Enrichment programs help children find what they are truly passionate about, and gives them the leadership skills to act proactively.

At Jump!, our enrichment programs are all-encompassing, with a curriculum spanning art, music, culture, language, and academic subjects. Here, children are in a safe space where they feel comfortable to explore and learn about a wide variety of subjects, and find one they are passionate about.

It builds interpersonal skills and self-esteem.

If your child is surrounded by a lively group of children working toward a common goal, it inevitably fosters teamwork. It creates a community outside of school where children can learn, engage, and above all, have fun.

This increased engagement, leadership skills, and teamwork also boosts confidence in children. In a more relaxed setting, children have the confidence to explore something they are passionate about and take it to the next level.

It improves behavior.

Teamwork, a passion for learning, and an inclusive environment means that your child will be exposed to a healthy atmosphere from the start. Enrichment programs promote discipline, especially learning how to conduct themselves in a classroom environment. Patience and listening skills are one of the many benefits that result from well-rounded programs.

It improves academic performance.

Above all, the most well-known benefit of enrichment programs is improved academic performance. The more children are exposed to academic environment, the more they will solidify the lessons they learn in class and achieve success.

In addition, enrichment programs often include problem-solving activities that promote analytical thinking. This means that many of the skills learned, even if unrelated to the exact academic success, will indirectly lead to success as well.

If you want to learn more about our enrichment programs or are considering Jump!’s well-rounded Saturday Immersion program, call us at the Edison or Livingston location to schedule a tour. We would love to show you up close what our enrichment immersion programs look like, and how they help lead to success.

We hope to see you soon!

Oct 10

Teaching Babies a Second Language

Check out this article on Futurity.com that explains how in just 1 hour per day, babies can begin learning a second language!

"Can babies be taught a second language if they don’t get foreign language exposure at home, and if so, what kind of foreign language exposure, and how much, is needed to spark that learning?"

Read the article here: Babies Can Learn Second Language in 1 Hour per Day »

[Photo Credit: I-LABS / University of Washington]

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