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Developing global competency skills should start at an early age. To professionally succeed in an increasingly interconnected global work place, today’s students need to develop academic knowledge, proficiency in English, and linguistic and cultural literacy in at least one more foreign language. In contemporary Europe, Germany’s growing weight in economic and political affairs is becoming ever more dominant. Mastery of the German language, in addition to English, and the ability to communicate in culturally appropriate ways, will play an ever greater role in the professional lives of ambitious young Europeans.
Small kids have the natural gift to acquire languages effortlessly, and the lower the age at which they are afforded the opportunity, the easier and better they will learn those languages. This is precisely the mission of the pre-school and Kindergarten levels at the Riga German International School. Primary teaching staff from Germany are passing on their native language and culture to the young students. In this task they are supported by German speaking local secondary teaching assistants who also understand Latvian and Russian. Small class sizes with a teacher-student ration of no more than one teacher for every eight students (four students in the toddler group) will facilitate quality learning and allow the teaching staff to take the individual development needs of your child into consideration. A daily playtime session in English facilitates the introduction of this language. Formal English classes start at the pre-school level. Once the child enters first grade, four weekly lessons in either the Latvian or Russian languages are further added to the curricula.
Parents may ask why during early childhood emphasis should be given to German over English? The answer is simple. Kids should first absorb German (or another language) at a very young age, with parallel exposure to English initially being limited to a level where it is not the dominant foreign language. Kids who attend an English language school or study English as their first foreign language often risk to neglect the study of additional languages later during the formative years of their youth. Given the increasing dominance and undisputed importance of English in today’s world, teenagers who successfully acquired the language of Shakespeare often lack the will and ambition to devote time and energy to the study of additional “lesser” foreign languages, thinking that fluency in English is “good enough”. Compared to them, students who are already fluent in German before they focus on English will become truly multilingual and gain an advantage over their English-only speaking contemporaries.
At Riga German International School students receive a multilingual quality education preparing them for the challenges of life in a competitive European and global workplace. At the same time, the school curricula’s compatibility with the Latvian school system, which mandates four hours of instruction in either Latvian or Russian, will ensure that Latvian resident students are not neglecting competency in their native language.