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Grades PK-6: Spanish Dual Immersion Program

Our rigorous Spanish program is a crucial portion of the curriculum at ANCS. Because global-mindedness is a central value at our school, we strive to instill and deepen cultural awareness in each student. Spanish is taught at all grade levels at All Nations Community School. Students in PK-6th grade are enrolled in our Dual Immersion Program.

In Pre-K4, students receive almost 100% of their weekly instruction in a full Spanish immersion environment, to give them a head start for beginning Dual Immersion in Kindergarten. Pre-K students learn the language naturally through play, music, games, read-alouds and other activities. Students who already speak Spanish are integrated and challenged at their own level, for example to work on more advanced reading skills if they are ready. Pre-K students at ANCS love coming to school and having fun en español!

In Grades K-6, instruction time is split between English and Spanish every day in the Dual Immersion Program. In Dual Immersion, course content such as science or social studies is taught in the language of instruction, rather than the language itself being the content (like in a traditional "foreign language" course). Students receive instruction in Language Arts every day for both languages, and the rest of their coursework is divided throughout the week according to the language of instruction. All Nations parents are regularly impressed with how much Spanish their children absorb in our Dual Immersion Program.

Worldwide, multilingualism is far more common than monolingualism. An estimated 65-75% of the world's population speaks at least two languages, and many millions of people speak three or more. Bilingual education is often begun at an early age, and citizens are expected to be multilingual as a matter of course. Are you wanting your child to be ready with 21st century skills to meet challenges ahead? We suggest starting them on a path to bilingualism!

If you have questions or would like to know how your child might benefit from enrolling in our Dual Immersion Program, give us a call (832-510-8311) or schedule a tour today. 

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Why Choose Bilingualism for My Child?

The many potential cognitive benefits of bilingualism have been thoroughly researched. They include:

  • better executive function

  • enhanced ability to focus amidst distractions

  • protection against cognitive decline (Alzheimer's, dementia) in old age

  • improved social and emotional skills

  • better academic performance

       ...and more!*

These skills are important for facing academic challenges, as well as life outside of a school setting.

At ANCS, our small class sizes allow for a high degree of differentiation within the Spanish classes to accommodate varying levels of Spanish abilities and backgrounds. We are delighted to have a culturally diverse student body, with levels of Spanish ranging from total beginners to native speakers. We enroll new students in our Spanish program year-round as space allows.

Our effective Spanish immersion program challenges students at all ages and levels to maximize their proficiency throughout the course of the school year. Children in younger grades learn through directed and creative play, while older grades build on extant literacy and academic skills to pursue fluency at higher levels.

FAQs

We/I don't speak Spanish at home. Can my child still enroll in the Dual Immersion Program?

Yes! We love to have beginners enroll in our Spanish program. You may be surprised at how quickly they begin learning, and how soon you are challenged to keep up and learn alongside them. We accept beginners in all grades and integrate them at their level according to their individual needs.

My child is a native/heritage Spanish speaker. Will they be challenged enough?

Absolutely. One of our most prominent curricular objectives at ANCS is to maximize each student's biliteracy and proficiency in all communication skills areas in both languages. Students who already speak Spanish are taught literacy skills, and those who already read proficiently will be challenged to continue broadening their vocabulary (academic and otherwise), as well as develop their writing skills for a variety of writing tasks and purposes. Advanced Spanish students in all grade levels read novels, work on writing skills, learn new vocabulary, and work on public speaking and presentation skills. In short, at ANCS we challenge each student individually to grow and learn to their maximum potential, whether in Spanish or otherwise. 

How can I help my student practice Spanish outside of class?

This is a great question, and it depends almost entirely on the efforts and consistency of the parent(s). Students will use a minority language only insofar as the social situation around them "requires" them to do so; that is hardwired biologically into our brains. If you create the necessity with your own enthusiasm for bilingualism and by seeking out opportunities to practice, your student will grow their skills more quickly. Examples might include watching a favorite cartoon with the audio in Spanish, practicing vocabulary together at dinner, or working on conversation in the car. Your child's teacher will be happy to share additional ideas with you to help you out on this!

If my child is spending so much time in Spanish class, will they still learn the English skills they need?

This is a common concern, and it is an understandable question; however, rest assured that your child will spend enough time in English-language coursework and will develop all of the literacy skills they need in English. Primary school students at ANCS receive a double block of English Language Arts instruction, in addition to coursework in other subjects taught in English. Moreover, the literacy skills that students gain in both languages are transferable skills: as they gain understanding of how sounds work in one language, the understanding builds in the second language, as well. English-speaking students will be instructed in all of the skills they are expected to have at each grade level, as in a monolingual school environment; English-language learners likewise quickly improve their English skills typically within a short time of beginning at ANCS.

How long will it take for my child to become fluent in Spanish once they start?

Fluency is developed over time, with skills in different areas of communication (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) gained at varying rates. Second language acquisition occurs in stages, not unlike a toddler learning to speak. Students in Spanish immersion typically gain a passive (listening) understanding of simple commands, praise, and greetings within the first few weeks of school. They are exposed to reading and writing instruction from the beginning, and these skills, along with speaking abilities, start  growing immediately and develop in complexity over time. 

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