Welcome to Small World Languages, a foreign language program in Cheshire, Connecticut focused on exposing children to and fostering interest in foreign language at a young age. A vast body of research supports the benefits of learning a foreign language and that these benefits are magnified in young children. As parents of two young children in the Cheshire community, we were interested in finding ways to expose our children to foreign language during this critical cognitive stage of their lives. We had already seen firsthand the benefits of early language development through our use of sign language with both of our daughters. Their ability to clearly communicate with us via signing, prior to their ability to communicate verbally, absolutely astounded us and illustrated their innate ability to absorb information and rapidly learn new skills at a young age. We knew we wanted to expose our children to foreign language before they began to lose their natural ability to learn it. While we were thankful that our oldest daughter’s preschool provided some level of exposure to foreign language, as do many of the local preschools, we were interested in an extracurricular program focused solely on foreign language. We wanted to capitalize on our daughter’s interest in learning and, specifically, on her interest in foreign language.
In our search, we spoke with many other parents who were similarly interested in an extracurricular foreign language program for their children, but they echoed our disappointment in the very limited options available locally, especially for young children. Research supports that foreign language exposure should begin at a young age since children begin to lose their ability to learn a second language by the time they enter middle school, the exact time when many children are receiving their first focused exposure to foreign language in the public school system. We were determined to find a way to provide our own children, and others from the community, with the early exposure that research has shown can provide so many benefits, including enhanced cultural understanding, communication skills, problem solving, academic achievement, and more. It was this determination that led us to found Small World Languages, which we hope will provide children from our local and neighboring communities the opportunity to explore and benefit from the early exposure to a foreign language. We are excited to share this journey with you and hope that you will join us.
-Matt, Maegen, Mikayla, & Kenna