I have a 2 and 1/2-year-old daughter who is supposed to start a spanish immersion preschool soon. Frankly, the main reason I chose it was location, nurturing teachers, and very small class size (there will only be five children maximum in a large classroom with one teacher and a floater teacher assisting with projects.) So...there are all of these positives....and the spanish immersion part was not something I knew much about until recently while doing some online research....but I have found conflicting info.
According to her new teacher, spanish will be spoken 50 percent of the time, starting out, and then up to 75 percent...but they always revert back to english quickly and always make sure children are not getting stressed. So..I guess I'm feeling a little torn about it because no one in my life speaks spanish...and I'm kind of asking myself why am I getting her involved in this if it isn't part of our life? But then I hear about the benefits of languange immersion even if they don't go on to use the language in their daily lives. So...I guess I'm a bit confused and would love to hear from any parents who have had children in this type of preschool as 2 to 3-year-olds.
Thank you in advance!!
My youngest started full Spanish immersion at 5. He didn't get any English instruction until 2nd grade and only about 20 minutes a week at that point. He's currently in 5th grade and does about half-and-half. My husband speaks a tiny bit. It was my mother's first language but I don't speak a lick. It's been incredibly positive for us.
I wouldn't worry. Honestly, you'll likely never hear her use it but she'll get all the positives of a bi-lingual education.
My DD (4 in February) started in a Mandarin immersion program in September. It's full day, full immersion, so they speak only Mandarin (with a few English translations thrown in to make sure the kids understand what's going on). Neither my husband nor I speak any Mandarin or have any connection to China. We and she love it! She has learned an unbelievable amount (not just Mandarin, but also early math, preparation for writing, etc.), probably has a vocabulary of about 200 words in Mandarin that she can translate from English on the spot and totally understands what's going on in her classroom. I think it's a fabulous experience, especially when their minds are so prepared to learn a second language in these early years.
-Ecstatic mommy to amazing DD, 2/07 :
That is going to be fantastic for her.
I'm actually a bit concerned that they're saying they'll switch back to English so readily. While most bilingual people end up doing code-switching, it's a lot harder to learn from someone who is doing a ton of code-switching like that.
I'd find out, also, how they handle the kids speaking English. Best response would be to repeat what the kid said in Spanish and respond appropriately.
Kid: I have a dog.
Teacher: (Spanish) You have a dog? What's your dog's name?
If you do feel like supplementing the language instruction at home, and you allow videos, check out Pocoyo. If you don't do videos, there are probably Spanish-language kids' books on tape.
Bilingual people score better on a variety of cognitive tests that have nothing to do with language, so definitely something you want for your dd. If she does happen to go on to be completely fluent, that alone could make the difference for her getting a given job in the future.