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hey101
Mar. 17, 2012, 04:58 PM
Anyone a product of or have a child in a dual-immersion primary school? We live fairly close to an elementary and middle school that has a dual english-spanish program starting from kindergarten. There are not that many of them around and we consider it pretty fortuitous that we are so close to one- it's only a few miles further than the elementary school our kids would normally attend.

Any feedback, good or bad, welcomed.

Event4Life
Mar. 17, 2012, 05:08 PM
Not quite the same thing, but the kids I au pair for go to dual French/American school. They have "American" school 2 days a week and then go to a regular French "public" school 2 days a week (French kids get Wednesdays off). They are both incredibly bright children and speak fluent English (they are aged 7 and 9). Luckily for me, and their parents, they speak English naturally and enjoy their "American section" school - often I think more than the French!

I don't know if your child's situation will be like theirs, but they are expected to keep at the same grade level as regular full time American school children. The American Section homework they do is at the level I'd expect for their respective grades in the States, which means they are keeping up with 2 lots of schoolwork at once. The 9 year old often has over an hour of homework, and the 7 year old at least 45 minutes. They don't get home until 5PM so that's a lot when they're in bed by 8.

Their parents were told that to keep up with the level they would have to be speaking English outside of school. They are the only kids in the class who don't have at least 1 native English speaking parent, and their 4 y/o sister does not speak any English. Hence why they now have me, and I only speak English with them. Just something to keep in mind - hopefully you or your SO speaks fluent spanish so you can come up with a deal where you'll sometimes speak English and sometimes Spanish at home.

I think dual immersion is a great idea. The earlier you start, the better. "My" kids have been speaking English since they could talk, so it comes naturally for them. The kids are getting from what I've seen a great quality American and French education, which will be a huge advantage to them when they're older. Fluency in another language is invaluable.

Sorry for the novel but I hope it helped!

Bluey
Mar. 17, 2012, 05:18 PM
Growing up speaking two languages tends to wire the brain in ways that are extremely helpful later for everything else the individual may do in life.
Music counts as one language there also.

Do a search for that topic and you will find some very interesting new studies with the particulars.

hey101
Mar. 17, 2012, 05:18 PM
Event4Life, thank you so much for that perspective. It's really important to my husband and I that our kids start early with another language-it's just so easy for them to learn it from a young age. Sadly neither of us are fluent in anything other than English, but we have plans to go abroad again in 3-5 years (probably Europe) and I'm determined to learn another language for myself, and even if we don't end up in Spain, I figure that learning ANY other language now (especially another romance language) will help them then.

From what I've already researched, the dual immersion programs teach a portion of the day in Spanish (typically the fine arts) and the rest in English (math, science). At kindergarten it's about 80% of the day in spanish, tapering down to about 50% spanish by 4th or 5th grade.

Bluey
Mar. 17, 2012, 05:22 PM
Here is one of several articles about those studies:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=bilingual-brains