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Perspective | My elementary student’s linguistic journey

We are a part of a world where being connected and first impressions are everything. The world is becoming more and more diverse, and having a second language or more under your belt sets you apart from others.

When my husband and I first decided on our son Miles’ elementary school, which was our base school, we were pleased to hear of its focus: world languages. Green Elementary offers both Mandarin and Spanish. We decided to go with Mandarin.

According to Wake County Public Schools, here are few benefits of learning a second language:

“Greater understanding of other peoples and cultures.

Clearer insight into the structure of the English language, specifically structure, syntax, and vocabulary.

Higher scores on the verbal section of the SAT and other standardized tests.

More flexibility in thinking processes through problem solving, conceptualizing, and reasoning.

Enhanced career potential in the U.S. and abroad.

Increased travel opportunities for business, education, or pleasure.”

Because Miles is learning Mandarin, we have seen him grow in his listening, leadership, and patience. Whenever we find out that someone speaks Mandarin, I always encourage Miles to say hello or speak using his skills he’s learned at school. I love seeing his face after he has had a successful conversation.

We have also been able to explore because holidays, cuisines, and fun activities because of Miles’ second language. Our family recently entertained the idea of even visiting Asia at some point. We love that through exploring a second language, we get to see so much growth in who our son is becoming. 

Wake County Public Schools offer world language instruction in sixth through twelfth grades, according to the district’s website. Most of the district’s middle schools offer Spanish. Most high schools offer Spanish, French, and a third language like German or Latin.

Because Miles’ elementary school is a magnet school that prioritizes languages, he started Mandarin in kindergarten. Students in magnet schools across the district also have access Chinese, Italian, Japanese, or Russian. All in all, learning a second language is helpful in so many ways, and I am so happy Miles gets an opportunity to do it so early. Zàijiàn.

Kiara Ruth

Kiara Ruth is a wife, boy-mom of a public school student, and writer for The Banana Moon lifestyle blog.