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Nina Perez's picture

*** Want more information on raising multilingual children? Visit MomsRising's bilingual parenting resource site:

As the daughter of Cuban immigrants, I can say with confidence that few things have helped my professional and personal growth more than being bilingual.

The ability to speak both English and Spanish strengthened my family ties by allowing me to talk to my grandparents, helped me become more social by acting as a translator for my monolingual peers, opened up unique academic opportunities, and made me significantly more competitive in the workforce from day one. But it wasn’t easy. Our community (including teachers at my school) often told my mother that it was wrong to teach me two languages (which research shows is actually not the case); often making her feel guilty for her desire to maintain our cultural language. Thankfully, my second grade teacher turned out to be an amazing advocate and worked together with my parents to ensure both of my languages were supported, but I often wonder what happened to other children who may have not won the teacher lottery.

All families deserve an educational system recognizes the benefits of multilingualism that sees the languages and cultures in our neighborhoods as an asset. And we can help build that change.

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MOMentum is building for home language support and dual language programs! Hundreds of parents, educators, and advocates have submitted stories to MomsRising/MamásConPoder on why language education programs are critical for our communities. And as back-to-school season jumps into full swing, this is a great time to talk to our schools and local leaders about the need for dual language programs and a system that supports home languages.

Research shows that bilingual/multilingual children have distinct advantages both cognitively and socio-emotionally compared to their monolingual peers. Students who know more than one language have exhibited increased emotional intelligence, stronger problem solving skills, and improved academic outcomes. The benefits  range from exhibiting more empathy to having stronger reading comprehension skills. Knowing multiple languages also set our youngest up to be competitive in a global workforce as adults. Supporting the learning of multiple languages, both at home and in schools with dual language immersion programs, is a long term investment!

Excited to help build MOMentum for language programs? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Explore and share MomsRising’s Bilingual Parenting Resource Site in both English and Spanish to support parents and caregivers (like you!) in promoting and celebrating the benefits of multilingual brains. Launched earlier this year as part of our dual language campaign, this resource pulls together some of the most popular, easy to use tools for building those multilingual brains just in time for back to school!

  • Email or drop off a shortened version of our The Power of Multilingual Kids to your local school leaders with a personal message on why you support dual language programs.

  • Sign up to deliver a Strong Start for Strong Cities resource guide (which highlights tips on how cities can strengthen early learning and dual language programs)  to your city leaders .

  • If you want to hear more straight from the living rooms of moms raising bilingual kids, check out this great collection of tips and resources put together by moms for moms on our blog titled Parents Share Why Bilingual is Better.

Have some favorite resource we’re missing or your own bilingual parenting hack you want to share? Tell us about it in the comments below and sign up for MomsRising to stay connected on this campaign!

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