The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Kindergarten Readiness

Three Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

Three Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language in Early Childhood

Parents tend to focus on the fundamental skills taught in Kindergarten, such as reading, writing, and numeracy. The opportunity to learn French or Spanish in Kindergarten might seem dispensable in comparison. However, research has shown that early foreign language study can influence a child’s brain development and lay the foundation for future academic success. At Fay, language study starts in Kindergarten. Primary School world language classes meet two or three times a week, and students spend the first half of the year focused on Spanish and the second half of the year on French. This gives students broad exposure to both languages before choosing to pursue either French or Spanish starting in third grade. Once students reach Upper School, Latin and Mandarin Chinese are additional options! Here are just a few of the benefits of beginning foreign language study in elementary school.  

Expanding their World

When children learn another language, they gain an early appreciation for the similarities and differences between cultures worldwide. Fay’s Primary School World Languages program is based on the F.L.E.X (Foreign Language Experience) model. Students are exposed to valuable chunks of language and cultural components that establish a broad foundation for later language studies. Students learn expressions and vocabulary through games, songs, and literature while also developing a cultural understanding of different Francophone and Hispanic countries. For example, while studying Spanish in the fall, Primary School students learn about the Day of the Dead holiday in Mexico, which celebrates family members who have passed away. They learn about its historical origins in the Aztec culture, and students create calaveras de azúcar, traditional Mexican sugar skulls decorated with bright colors and designs reinforcing Spanish vocabulary around colors and shapes.  

Boosting Academic Achievement

Can learning a foreign language make you smarter? Research has shown that learning another language improves students’ reading, writing, and math skills and that there is a strong correlation between foreign language study and higher standardized test scores. At Fay, our Primary School language learners aren’t just gaining a new vocabulary when they study language; they are expanding their knowledge base through a variety of interdisciplinary projects that connect to history, art, and even science such as learning to code programmable BeeBots to turn left or right in French!

Developing Creative Thinkers

Foreign language study helps children develop into creative and flexible thinkers. A study from the Canadian Center of Science and Education entitled “The Effects of Foreign Language Learning on Creativity” found that learning a foreign language enhances all four divergent thinking abilities: fluency, elaboration, originality, and flexibility. “Brain research has shown that kids who are exposed to languages grow up to become more flexible and open-minded adults,” says Fay School’s World Language Chair Kara Mertz.

About Fay School

Fay School was founded in 1866 and is the oldest junior boarding school in the United States. Our 66-acre campus is located in Southborough, MA, just 25 miles from Boston. Our community includes 475 students in kindergarten through grade nine and includes 150 boarders in grades 7-9  from across the United States and over 20 countries. Fay is recognized around the world for its superior educational program, and our graduates are accepted to top secondary schools. Fay's program empowers students to discover their talents, develop their intellectual abilities, establish essential academic skills and knowledge, and define their moral character - all essential to living a life of meaning and making a positive difference in the world.

Learn more about Fay School.

main number 508-490-8250
admission 508-490-8201