I can’t tell you how excited I am for Little Guy this week – he got into the kindergarten I was hoping he would – it’s at a dual immersion school. That means he gets to learn Spanish as part of his regular school day. It goes like this: kindergarteners and first graders only learn in Spanish, then second graders have a couple of hours of English-language study and the rest of the day is in Spanish. From third grade on, half of their subjects are taught in Spanish by a teacher who speaks to them exclusively in Spanish, and the other half are taught in English only. All of their homework for the first few years is in Spanish, and bilingual parents volunteer to be part of a “homework hotline” in case non-Spanish-speaking parents need some assistance.
There are so many reasons why I’m happy about this news. He’s such a bright little boy, and I think this will help him stay challenged and interested in his lessons (he already reads at a pretty advanced level, knows quite a bit of math, science, and geography, etc.). Also, he is young enough that he has the chance to master Spanish in a way that is difficult for non-native speakers to accomplish. He is going to be able to preserve a bit of our family heritage (as it is, we have pretty much lost our native tongue; those who can speak Spanish rarely do, and they did not teach any of the kids beyond a few simple words and phrases). Even if Spanish was not in our ancestry, it’s a useful language to learn, and it will become more valuable as time goes on. We live in a global society, and being bilingual is only an asset. Spanish can provide a firm foundation for any other languages our boy might want to learn. I could go on…I am thrilled that my nephew gets to have this opportunity.
You know how I feel about speaking Spanish – I looked around to see if there is a similar program for Little Mama to participate in, but no such luck (that’s a major drawback of living in a small town for sure – far less opportunity). If you are interested, check this national database. Some schools teach French instead of Spanish, or a couple of other languages too, depending on where you live.
As for me, I am trying to decide which Spanish-language software is best for Little Mama to work on with me. I had thought of cramming by myself and then teaching her, but she’s bright and motivated – might as well turn it into a mother-daughter activity if I can. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.