The language profiles of students in PYP schools may be complex and diverse; however, the influence of home language development is significant for all learners. It is acknowledged that development of home language is crucial for cognitive development, and in maintaining cultural identity. Success in home language development is a strong predictor of long-term academic achievement, including acquisition of other languages.
The complex processes involved in language learning represent a series of developmental continuums. A teacher is able to identify where on those continuums a student is positioned to better design appropriate, contextualized learning experiences—to move the student from one development phase to the next. In this way, the learner is able to build on established skills and understanding, while being supported to meet appropriate challenges to extend their learning within their “zone of proximal development” (Vygotsky 1999), which may be represented by more than one phase.
At WAB, all students have the opportunity to learn more than one language from Junior Grade 1. Every learner benefits from having access to different languages, and, through that access, to different cultures and perspectives. Acquisition of more than one language enriches personal development and helps facilitate international-mindedness.