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Benefits of a Dual Curriculum

Benefits of a Dual Curriculum
 
Jewish day schools serve as a unique setting for learning the Hebrew language. Here at the Jewish Academy of Orlando, we teach Hebrew both for Jewish religious and cultural literacy to foster facility in the study of sacred Hebrew texts and also for purposes of proficiency in communications skills.

Much research has been conducted over the past few years regarding the benefits of a dual language curriculum in general. Some of the reasons cited include the following*:

• Attention – learning a second language, in particular a Tier III language such as Hebrew, helps students pay better attention in all    subjects

• Empathy - children being raised with a second language have to follow social cues to figure out which language to use with which person and in what setting, thus creating greater empathy and strengthening their social and emotional skills

• Reading – learning a second language helps reading skills, not only in the second language there are learning but also in their primary language as it makes students more aware of how languages work in general

• School performance and engagement – learning a second language helps with brain development and improves students grades in ALL subject areas

• Diversity and integration – learning a second language helps students learn about cultural diversity and encourages our students to be less geocentric and ethnocentric

• Protection against cognitive decline and dementia – while this is a more long-term benefit of learning a second language, we now know the importance of ongoing brain development and neuroplasticity. Thus, maintaining a connection to a second language will help keep your brain healthy and sharp.

Here at the Jewish Academy of Orlando, we recognize multiple benefits of learning the Hebrew language. A recent study conducted by the AVI CHAI Foundation2 asked parents to list the reasons they want their children to learn Hebrew. Among the reasons provided were the following:

• It helps my child form a connection with Israel
• It maintains the Jewish people’s language
• It helps my child when visiting Israel
• Learning a second language contributes to my child’s brain development
• It is a part of being Jewish
• It connects my child to Jews around the world
• It helps my child communicate with other Jews around the world We hope you will join us on our adventure to learn Hebrew as a second language and connect with the Jewish people!