Our Bilingual Program
French is an international language spoken around the world. A bilingual, international education provides children with the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures. At FISW, we promote global awareness by cultivating a diverse student body and celebrating cultural difference including world holidays.
FISW implements the French national curriculum in language, math, science, history, geography, art, and music. The schoolwork is rigorous and challenging with elements of best practices found in Washington State blended with French guidelines. Students are immersed in the French language 75% of their time at school. Immersion in an additional language at a young age allows children to become bilingual in a natural and effective way through daily interaction in class.
Being Bilingual is Good for your Brain
The ability to understand and speak French is only one benefit of our bilingual program. Research shows that students who are educated in a second language, particularly those who learn in an immersion setting, demonstrate increased mental flexibility and creative thinking. Bilingual students are also better able to analyze language. Because they learn that there are at least two ways to say the same thing, they have a greater understanding of the relationship between words and meaning. They also have a greater ability to focus, taking into account only relevant pieces of information. Additionally, through curriculum content and exposure to cultural differences, bilingual students also learn to respect differences between people and cultures.
We are not alone in extolling the benefits of introducing another language early and maintaining it through a lifetime. Matthew Hutson summarizes just a few of these benefits in in the Psychology Today article, Of Two Minds:
• "Bilingual toddlers performed better than the monolingual toddlers on tasks assessing selective attention and cognitive flexibility."
• "Languages learned before the age of 5 are represented differently in the brain than are later languages. For example, they trigger sensory associations more actively."
Proverbio, Alice Mado, Adorni, Roberta, and Zani, Alberto, www.sciencedirect.com, "Inferring native language from early bio-electrical activity"
• "Learning a second language can help you out decades down the road. On average, lifelong bilinguals incur dementia four years later than others..."
Bialystok, Ellen, Craik, Fergus I. M., and Freedman, Morris. www.sciencedirect.com, "Bilingualism as a protection against the onset of symptoms of dementia"
These articles provide more information on the benefits of a bilingual education: