Second Language Proficiency

At Avenues, our goal is to graduate students who are truly at ease beyond their borders. Second language instruction is integral to achieving this goal. Guided by the most current research on language acquisition and evidence showing the significant social and cognitive benefits of learning a second language, we have created an immersion curriculum designed to educate students who can converse comfortably on subjects ranging from the everyday to the academic, with a focus on global awareness.

In addition to the social and personal benefits of being multilingual, current research shows that second language acquisition is highly beneficial to the development of brain functions and cognitive skills. Our coordinated curriculum in both English and the immersion languages leads to a high level of academic rigor and an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning that is engaging and meaningful.

MORE ON IMMERSION INSTRUCTION

Avenues teachers are extremely well qualified, with extensive training in subject content and, for the language teachers, in second language instruction. English and second language teachers collaborate extensively to create and nurture the social, emotional and academic growth of their students. Teachers share the responsibility for teaching the content and curriculum and communicate with each other regularly about student progress and concerns.

Language teachers use the second language 100 percent of the time for both instructional and procedural interactions, providing sufficient input for consistent incremental assimilation of the language. Through formal and informal assessments, teachers monitor students’ progress and offer opportunities to strengthen their language skills through dynamic and differentiated groupings.

THE BENEFITS OF BILINGUALISM

Knowing multiple languages opens up untold cultural, intellectual and professional pathways through the world. It also literally opens a child’s mind: bilingual education activates and expands parts of the brain untapped by monolingual study. Research shows that learning and speaking more than one language improves the brain’s executive functions—a set of interrelated neural processes that we use in our daily lives to make plans, solve problems and perform other mentally demanding tasks. Bilingual education has been shown to improve the following functions:

  • Ignoring distractions to stay focused
  • Switching attention from one topic or activity to another
  • Holding information in mind
  • Mental flexibility
  • Metalinguistic awareness (the ability to understand how language works)

In other words, becoming bilingual helps you concentrate, multi-task and identify important information while filtering out irrelevant information—foundational skills that are more crucial than ever in the digital age. Bilingual students also enjoy purely academic advantages: studies demonstrate that immersion students achieve as well as, or better than, their non-immersion peers on standardized measures of literacy and numeracy administered in students’ first language.

The benefits of bilingualism aren’t just cognitive. Social and personal advantages include deeper cross-cultural understanding, improved self-esteem and enhanced professional competitiveness. There are also health benefits to knowing a second language well: recent studies have shown that bilingualism may help prevent or delay the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. While learning a language is a rigorous workout for the brain at any age, when you start with immersion at the age of three, it’s a life-changing workout which comes naturally.

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Avenues students will become proficient in a second language, which is fundamental to being a truly global citizen.

Recent Articles from OPEN, our news and discussion blog

December 12, 2018

Monsters in the ELC: Part One

by Dorine Yang, Nursery Teacher


The teachers decided to harness the students' interest in spooky decorations to reinforce the children’s Chinese-language knowledge of colors and help teach about the different facial features.  

December 7, 2018

Digital Citizenship in 2nd Grade

by Jacob Goren, Technology Integrator


Given the fact that students in 2nd grade are being asked to participate in that digital world without the direct oversight of their teachers as they complete their homework, we needed to ensure our 2nd grade digital citizenship curriculum prepared students for that responsibility.  

December 5, 2018

Pre-K Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month: Frida Kahlo Study

by Amelia Padilla, Pre-kindergarten Teacher


The Goldfish and Starfish embarked on a study of Frida Kahlo. They learned about her artistic life, where she was from and about her love for making self-portraits. Our pre-K curriculum already incorporates self-portraits, so this was the perfect way to connect the study of Frida Kahlo to a familiar theme.  

November 30, 2018

Writing Memoirs in 8th Grade

by Jordan Kravitz, Upper Division English


This November, the Avenues 8th grade saw Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Jeff Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger, at the Shubert Theater on Broadway.  

November 28, 2018

Creating a “Me Museum” in Kindergarten

by Evelyn Vivar, Spanish Fellow in the Early Learning Center


The kindergarten’s World Course offers a great way for students to feel comfortable with one another, and what better way than having a museum shown to the class about themselves!  

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