Q. Isn’t My Amigos just for Hispanic children who need to learn English?
NO. My Amigos is for ANY child whose family recognizes the future academic and career benefits of learning a second language and/or is looking for a quality preschool education for their children.
Q. Why teach Spanish if the language of the United States is English?
Research shows that any second language, whether Spanish or any other, is beneficial for children because it increases connections in the brain at a more rapid pace than monolingual children. It has also been documented that bilingual children tend to be better problem solvers because they learn that since things can be spoken in more than one way, there must be more than one way to accomplish most tasks. This ability is a coveted asset in a career.
Q. Who cares if they start learning another language early if they will eventually learn it in high school or college?
While new language learning is easiest by age 7, the ability markedly declines after puberty. "We're seeing the brain as more plastic and ready to create new circuits before than after puberty," says Dr. Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington. As an adult, "it's a totally different process.”
Q. How do you know if the Hispanic students are documented or undocumented?
My Amigos is licensed to care for children by the Department of Social Services (DSS). DSS does not require us to question any child or parent concerning their status in this country. Therefore, My Amigos will enroll any child as long as they are able to provide the required DSS paperwork and immunization records.
Q. Won’t learning another language confuse young kids and hold them back developmentally?
An Italian study of bilingual 12-month-olds into why bilingual children don't have language delays found that these children were able to learn two patterns at same time, while children who spoke only one language could only learn one pattern at a time. The researchers concluded that bilingual children have more brain flexibility and learn two languages at the same speed as a child learning only one language.
Q. Can English speakers play and communicate in the class with Spanish speakers and vice versa?
YES. All children want to play and although some will not be confident speaking another language, they will begin to learn it by hearing it in the context of their play. Little by little, they begin to learn the language, but it is disguised through play. It is an almost effortless way for children to learn!!
Q. Will the children only be taught about Mexican culture rather than the United States?
NO. Children at My Amigos are taught about each different continent of the world and an equal amount of instruction is given for each one. While some lessons on Mexican culture may be taught, lessons about other cultures, including the United States, are taught as well.
Q. Is My Amigos associated with the government?
No. My Amigos is a private, 501(c)3 non-profit organization.