Dual Language Education
At Hebrew Academy math, science and social studies are taught in English. Hebrew language instruction begins in kindergarten and continues throughout the grades. Jewish sacred texts, prayer, holidays, Israel studies, Jewish daily living and ethics are learned from Hebrew sources and involve Hebrew discourse. Students build a strong foundation for lifelong literacy and expression in both languages. And in grade six students learn Spanish — mastering yet another linguistic structure. At this time in their development, the students are able to deepen their grammatical knowledge of each language by comparing it with the other two. Before graduation, students take New York State’s Hebrew and Spanish Language proficiency exams, earning high school credits for both languages.
Multilingualism has a whole slew of incredible side effects: Multi-linguals tend to score better on standardized tests, especially in math, reading, and vocabulary; they are better at remembering lists or sequences, likely from learning grammatical rules and vocabulary; they are more perceptive to their surroundings and therefore better at focusing in on important information while weeding out misleading information (it’s no surprise Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are skilled polyglots). Delistraty, Cody. "For a Better Brain, Learn Another Language: The Cognitive Benefits of Multilingualism,” The Atlantic Monthly, Oct 17, 2014.
The benefits of a dual language program are far reaching and long lasting. Individuals exposed to such a program often perform better in math, reading and vocabulary. They are more perceptive to their surroundings and more focused. Learning a second language is even thought to delay cognitive decline in old age!
How can a dual language program benefit your child? Bilingual children:
- display greater cognitive flexibility and better problem solving skills
- develop better spatial abilities
- develop a greater vocabulary
- are better listeners
- easily switch between tasks
- learn further languages more quickly and efficiently
- are more effective communicators
And at Hebrew Academy, learning Hebrew isn’t just about learning a second language – it’s about developing a greater sense of connection with our heritage, history and family.