As our world becomes more interconnected, our ability to communicate in different languages and across cultures becomes more important. Equipping the next generation for success means providing an education that promotes high academic achievement in English as well as in an additional language. With this goal in mind, the Fort Lauderdale school implemented a Spanish immersion program in the elementary school for the 2017–18 school year.
“Spanish immersion in the preschool and elementary school is a proven method of educating children by immersing them in a second or ‘target’ language so they become truly bilingual. In a language immersion program, the classroom environment becomes the setting for language acquisition through subject content instruction and social interaction. Our current families are excited about the opportunity for their children to attain native-like proficiency starting as early as preschool,” said Renie Contento, CCA’s elementary school principal.
One in 5 people in Florida (1 in 7 nationally) are Hispanic, and Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world. In fact, it is considered a “gateway” language that will train the brain, thus making it easier to learn other languages. Research shows that learning more than one language gives children cognitive advantages and increases cultural awareness and sensitivity.
“One of the most exciting things about implementing a Spanish immersion program at CCA is that we will be equipping our students to become young men and women who are linguistically and culturally aware,” explained Jan Lashbrook, CCA’s early childhood director. “This not only fosters an inherent understanding of the world, but will prompt them to naturally cross cultural boundaries and more effectively carry out CCA’s mission to make disciples in a global community.”
CCA is partnering with add.a.lingua, an organization that develops cutting edge instructional materials, teacher and administrator training, program guidelines, and community engagement specific to dual language immersion education. Participation in the Spanish Immersion program will be open to students in Pre-K4 and Kindergarten in the 2017–2018 school year. An additional grade level will be added to the program in each consecutive year to allow all participants to advance within the program. In Pre-K4 through 2nd grade, students will receive 100% of their academic instruction in Spanish. Specials classes such as STEM, art, music, PE, computers, and drama will continue to be taught in English. Starting in 3rd grade, students will be taught one or more of their academic subjects in English to increase exposure to critical terminology and strategies in both languages.Originally writen for Spectator Magazine