My 5 year old starts Spanish dual immersion program in 3 weeks. Has anyone done an immersion program with a new language? How did it go? She's excited about it but on the other hand I'm afraid going in not understanding a word of Spanish is going to be very discouraging to her. We weren't here for the informational meeting so I don't even know if I'm supposed to teach her a little bit before the start.
How is the program? Will it be games (like a camp) or more of a summer school actually studying?? My daughter went to an English summer camp here in Italy. They learned while playing games, doing sports, and acting. She loved it!!! The tutors came from the UK and spoke no Italian at all. Even the smaller kids (4 yrs) who knew no English really enjoyed and really did well.
This is kindergarten, start of elementary school. So I believe it will focus on academics. Hopefully there will be some play elements for children that young, but they do have a curriculum to get through, in 2 languages no less. In theory roughly a third of the class will only speak Spanish and no English, a third will only speak English, and a third will be bilingual English/Spanish. I have no idea how language is taught in such setting. Obviously the popularity of these programs means that they are doing something right, but it doesn't stop me from worrying about my baby girl.
Well, my older son basically learned French by immersion in our local school, so sort of similar? He started preschool at almost 4, and we had spoken very little French to him before that. We let the teacher know that if he didn't understand at first it was normal. It went fine, and in 3-4 months he was speaking French as fluently (or more fluently!) than any other kid there. I'm sure she will do great, and will catch on very quickly!
Tatyana, I think your concerns are natural. At the same time, I would second Alisa's perspective. As a teacher at Hiroshima International School, I worked with many children who entered the school with no English ability at all. It's true that the first few months were sometimes challenging for them (in this situation, a "silent period" can be typical), but without exception, they all gradually acquired the language and settled well into the school. (And in your daughter's case, it sounds like she won't be alone in not knowing Spanish from the start.)
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