Word that local startup Small World Languages has become a nonprofit comes as welcome news (see page 3 for story). The organization seeks to introduce young students to multiple foreign languages, thereby expanding the options from which parents may choose when seeking courses for their children.
This, coupled with efforts to provide more in-school foreign language options in Cheshire, should go a long way towards helping the town’s youngest residents become more at ease with other languages.
Numerous studies over the years have shown that individuals are more apt to become multi-lingual if they are introduced to foreign languages at an early age. Adults are by no means incapable of learning something other than their native tongue, but children seem to be sponges for such knowledge.
Thus, the sooner a community can expose students to something other than English, the better.
As technology shrinks our world, being multi-lingual becomes all the more important. Yes, there is something intellectually enriching about learning another language and, often through that process, discovering more about another culture. It sure makes traveling abroad that much easier.
But as today’s children transition into adulthood, they will be facing a dynamic workforce that is spread across both the country and the world. Increasingly, people in America are routinely interacting with others across the globe during their normal work day, and being able to converse in a different language comes in handy under those circumstances.
Already, one finds that some employers prefer — if not require — that future employees be familiar with more than just English, and, as we continue on into the 21st century, that may become the norm rather than the exception.
That’s why having an organization such as Small World Languages is so important. If affordable and accessible to the multitudes, it can help to fill in the gaps left by school curriculums already charged with educating children on a whole host of subjects. In a world that is rapidly changing, public schools must try to adapt while also ensuring that students are proficient in the basics — reading, writing, arithmetic, and so on.
There are only so many hours in a school day and only so much information teachers can pour into young minds before they overflow. At some point, priorities must be set.
Now that Small World Languages is officially a nonprofit, it would seem the group can make their courses more cost-effective for local families. That means more students can take advantage of their offerings, meaning more students exposed to an important subject matter.
The healthiest of communities are usually those in which multiple options exist for students to expand their education, both inside and outside the public school system. With its recent move, Small World Languages seems likely to continue helping Cheshire remain very healthy.