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.

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 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!

May 17

What Can I Expect from Jump! Summer Camp?

Bienvenidos! If you’re a parent who just enrolled your child in Jump! Summer Camp, you might have several questions... What will the camp be like? Will my child become fluent by the end? What if I my child is shy, even when speaking in English?


We understand that enrolling your child in summer camp can be a daunting experience, especially if you have never had an experience with a bilingual school. We’re here to make sure you feel safe, secure, and excited for your summer with us. So, here’s a detailed outline of what exactly to expect this summer.

The teachers will speak completely in Spanish

Yes, your child’s instructors -- whether it be the visiting Zumba instructor, main teacher, volunteer, or sports coach -- will all be native Spanish speakers that will only speak English when absolutely necessary. All lessons, interactions, and outdoor play will be in Spanish so that your child receives a full and well-rounded immersion experience.

They will speak to each other completely in Spanish

Another part of the immersion process is that your child will interact with his/her friends entirely in Spanish as well. To the best of their respective abilities, students are encouraged to speak to each other with ice-breaker activities and play-time hours. To facilitate this, students are placed with other students within a similar skill-level so that speaking won’t be intimidating.

If you have a child that is shy when speaking Spanish, or self-conscious, our teachers will work one-on-one with them to gradually ease them into the process. Our instructors are very sensitive to your children’s needs, limits, and potential -- each child’s feelings are taken into consideration to minimize the frustration of misunderstandings.

The more they go, the more they know

Of course, the more your child is exposed to an immersion setting, the more they will learn the target language. Since Jump’s summer camp mission is fluid conversational Spanish, the more exposure to these conversations, the better they will be able to both speak and comprehend. Additionally, since our teachers are native Spanish speakers, a more natural accent will be much easier for your child to absorb in an immersive setting.

They will become conversational, even at the beginner level.

All the students that enroll in our summer camp become excellent at conversational Spanish. Whether your child is beginning, intermediate, or advanced, Jump’s summer camp offers a dynamic and student-tailored immersion process that allows each child to reach their full potential in conversational Spanish. For more advanced speakers, our instructors are more than willing to provide more challenging work and offer opportunities to refine their skills.

They will learn a blend of academic work spanning science, vocabulary-building activities, theatre, dancing, and even cooking

Jump’s summer camp is all-encompassing. Not only do the students have fun, but they learn a wide array of academic subjects. Our instructors are diligently trained to teach children who are just learning Spanish academic subjects in a way that is not only comprehensible, but thorough. This way, your child not only brushes up on academics during the summer, but learns a new language as well.

They will have access to an unparalleled cultural education to foster a connection with a diverse range of Spanish-speaking countries

In addition to receiving an academic education, your child will receive an extensive cultural education to promote cultural awareness, sensitivity, and appreciation. Since our mission is to provide our students with a global advantage, we firmly believe that this begins with a cultural education that spans a diverse range of countries. Here, your child will learn about dances, foods, holidays, and social norms across Spanish-speaking countries and foster a genuine appreciation for the Latin culture.

They will have lots of summer fun!

In addition to academics, cultural awareness, and immersion, we absolutely guarantee that your child will have their most fun summer yet here at Jump! From water play to theatre productions, to outdoor sports, and our annual visit from The Lizard Guy, Jump’s summer fun is endless. They will make new friends, learn from incredibly warm and caring teachers, and most of all, learn a new language!

If you have any more questions regarding Jump’s summer camp, please don’t hesitate to call your center and ask.

We can’t wait to see you in June -- hasta luego!



Read more on our blog about summer camp:

May 11

Choosing the Right Summer Camp:
Fun, Education, or Both?

Summer is finally approaching the corner -- and that means school’s almost out! Your children may be ecstatic, but you might be experiencing stress over your child’s summer plans.

The beginning of May is around the time when parents start searching for the perfect summer camp for their child. Your child might want to go to a fun sleep-away camp in the Adirondacks, but you want them to sustain the education they have learned during the school year. Are the two mutually exclusive?


Often, parents ask us about the balance of fun and education in our summer camp and we have lots to say about it. For us, the perfect summer camp is a seamless blend of academic support and enjoying the brief summer months. To help you navigate the search for your child’s upcoming summer camp, here are our tips on how to find the perfect fit.

1. Consider the program’s focus and educational component (if any)

What kind of academic goals are you and your child looking to receive from a summer camp? Are you looking for an academic boot-camp, or simply have education as a supporting role? It is very important to figure out your own standards and match them with the program’s mission. Most camps offer various activities -- from work sessions, to camping, to dancing. Be sure you choose the camp with the most activities that are aligned with you and your child’s personal focus.

2. Go in for a Private Tour

Once you have narrowed down your options to a short list, schedule a private tour! The best way to get a feel of the camp’s attitude and focus is by seeing it up-close. Ask your tour-guide to introduce you to some of the summer instructors, and ask as many questions as possible.

3. Ask the Right Questions

If you are on a private tour, or simply corresponding with the camp director, be sure to ask about:

  • Staffing
  • Student to faculty ratio
  • Return rate
  • Sample daily schedule
  • Safety procedures

4. Most of all, include your child in the process of choosing

It is very important to make sure your child feels comfortable in the camp that you ultimately enroll in. Include your child on the private tour, and allow them to ask questions as well!

We hope that these tips are helpful in your search for a summer camp. If you are considering enrolling your child in Jump!, we would be happy to schedule a private tour in the coming weeks.

We hope to see you soon!



Read more on our blog about summer camp:

Apr 05

How Parents Can Support Language Learning at Home



Did you know that you don't have to understand the language in order to help your child learn it? Here’s what you can do to help support your child's language learning, whether or not you speak it! (list from GreatKids):

How You Can Help:

  • Help your child make time to practice.
  • Have your student teach you to say something in the language every day.
  • Find cultural events connected to the language and culture being studied.
  • Ask the teacher for resources your child can use at home.
  • Provide videos, books and music in the language.
  • Look for opportunities outside the classroom, like a summer language camp
  • Volunteer to organize a career day that features jobs that use skills in more than one language.
  • Be an advocate.

Read the full article at the GreatKids by GreatSchools website:
Learning a second language: How parents can help»

Mar 31

Learning to Read in Spanish & English



Here's an article that does a great job explaining some of the similarities and differences in literacy instruction depending on the language. It also suggests the following activities you can do at home to complement your child's language instruction (list from ¡Colorín Colorado!):

Learning at Home: Tips for Parents

  • Create small places at home where your child can study, read and play. Areas set aside for learning and play are important for your child's development.
  • Stock the study area with books, pencils, pens, and paper. Encourage your child to read and then write stories using Spanish.
  • Have a play area where there are opportunities to play with materials. Provide labels for the materials (e.g., plastelina [clay], bloques [blocks], computadora [computer], rompecabezas [puzzles]).
  • Read aloud to your child in Spanish to help build vocabulary and comprehension skills. 
  • Provide opportunities to talk to your child about the world around him. Talk about things at the supermarket, during walks, or things you are doing as you cook or clean. 

Read the full article and even more tips at the ¡Colorín Colorado! website:
Early Literacy Instruction in Spanish: Teaching the Beginning Reader»

Jump! Immersion School embraces early literacy in both Spanish and English to ensure that your child reaches their full global potential!

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