Research reveals that the early study of a second language results in cognitive benefits; gains in academic achievement; and increases in self-esteem, creativity and positive attitudes toward diversity.

However, fewer elementary schools provide foreign-language instruction—dropping from 31 to 25 percent in the past eight years—and most foreign-language programs don’t begin until middle or high school.

With the flexibility to provide engaging, hands-on learning experiences for students, after school programs are an ideal solution for bridging the gap. Consider the following tips for incorporating foreign-language learning into after school programs:

  • Immerse students in the language. Read books, play music and watch movies in the language students are learning. Incorporate words and phrases while conducting a science experiment or practicing math skills.
  • Incorporate online resources. There are a variety of free and low-cost online tools that can help students learn a second language. To get started, check out these 10 language-learning apps for young students.
  • Make it fun! For young learners, foreign-language learning should be entertaining and fun! Keep them interested in exciting activities and games.

Learning a second language provides students a distinct advantage in school, career and life. Use these simple tips to foster foreign-language learning in your after school program.