When you enroll your child at a bilingual school, you have started him or her on a path to bilingualism. Bilingualism is simply the ability to speak two languages. It may easily be acquired early by children in places where most people speak two different languages or when they attend a bilingual school, just like our preschool in Washington, DC. But as parents or guardians, you should know that the process of becoming bilingual and the actual state of already being bilingual are complex, and most of the time misunderstood.
It is possible to become bilingual at any age but children who acquire different languages in their early years will most likely have a native speaker accent and find themselves in ideal language-learning environments. A bilingual school focuses on the oral aspects of language, its cultural components, vocabulary and literacy skills, and the learning of non-linguistic subjects in both languages. The school also emphasizes that the amount and quality of exposure to the use of the second language are crucial in the learning process. Parents should know that when children are learning a second language, they undergo different stages or phases of language development. This also holds in our bilingual preschool in Virginia.