Hi, my name is Nicole Johnson. My husband and I moved here from the Bay Area, California a year ago with our now toddler son. I used to live here in childhood, and am so happy to be back enjoying the seasons (or mostly enjoying them) and more importantly being close to family. My husband is a California boy, so pray he makes it through another winter. It was quiet the experience for him going from bicycle commuting and landscaping to driving on black ice and plowing 16" of snow. I am thrilled to be on this adventure, come rain or shine. After studying in Chicago and living in France and Peru, I settled in California where I went to high school, and if I'm honest, was tagging along after my two big brothers. Thankful that I found myself in my education, my travels, my relationships and my vocation, I then found love. We are so blessed with our son, and after being completely enamored with my preschool families, I am speechless at the joy it brought to have finally made our own. I am one proud Mama Bear of this here wild child, Samuel Bear Johnson (not named after the one who wrote the first English dictionary, or any National Park that exists yet, although that would have been cool).
Credentialed in California and trained as a master teacher and site supervisor, I was passionate about early childhood education long before motherhood was even in the cards. What a blessing it now is to be a full-time teacher and Mama. Always exploring different philosophies and programs, like a child, I finally found my niche in nature-based, child-led and emergent curriculum. I love providing opportunities for children to learn at their level, on their terms and in the wild. Courage, creativity, trust and excitement pour out of these risk-taking and play-filled learners. Children are genius beings, and our adult needs pale in comparison to their insatiable appetites for change and challenge. We all need nurture, nature, passion and confidence but they have the high-energy to demand whatever it takes to get them going, and I am ready to respond to those demands. It's my vocation and it's a true gift of joy.
It doesn't matter if you don't speak another language (yet). Your child has an opportunity at immersion that you may not have had. The ways language immersion or bilingualism improve brain function, especially in the 0-3 year old brain, are impressive. Please let me share.
The children listen more because their ears are busy working to decipher and decode patterns in sounds both at home and in the immersion language. What does that mean? Already they have more potential to learn new words in any language, to speak any language and to organize thoughts in multiple languages. They can memorize the order and structure of multiple languages with no effort at these early ages. What does that sound like: 7th grade French grammar, or is it just immersion? There's a reason we say children are sponges.
This organizing and structuring part of the brain develops and increases growth in other ways too, like enlarging use of the part of the brain that finds patterns like those used in math and music. That means children are now noticing the difference in shapes and concepts like similarities and differences. How many problems can they now solve quicker and with more success?
Does that sound like they may have a brain fit for engineering? Yes or anything challenging. Creativity and problem-solving, being flexible and open-minded, make executives and self-starters, and helps manage life stressors by building the foundations for learning. Meaning, children will feel competent at learning to ask questions and look for answers in various ways. That sounds like a scientist now.
The point is that your child is a genius. Language Immersion just opens up their mind to receive more from the world around us. Speaking of the world around us: how about the diversity of the world and it's multiple languages, cultures, countries, foods, art and philosophies? Have you embraced others? Have you had the opportunity to travel? What if French Immersion brought your family to discover new art, film, food, people and places?
It doesn't stop with French culture, there's Moroccan, Creole, Quebecoise, West African...the list goes on. And now your child is aware that he or she is immersed in other languages daily too and paying attention to them in the grocery store or at the park (maybe you are too.)
Your child wants to know where different countries are on a globe. Your child may want to know how people live in other parts of the world too. This is global mindedness. This is community at it's best. This is what humanity and humanitarianism comes from, isn't it?
So now tell me how you do not think language immersion is good for your family