Spanish Immersion FAQs
What is Spanish Immersion?
The Spanish Immersion Program is an option for students at King’s Elementary School. This program gives elementary students an opportunity to complete the curriculum in a nontraditional way – by immersing them in the Spanish language and culture from kindergarten through sixth grade. Students become proficient in both Spanish and English, while learning the same curriculum content as their peers in the traditional English classrooms.Immersion programs have existed in the United States for over 40 years, although the most dramatic growth in the number of programs has occurred over the past 15 years. Research indicates that by the end of 5th grade, students generally score noticeably higher in math and literacy on standardized tests than students in traditional programs.
What should parents think about when considering this program?
Families who value proficiency in a second language acquired during elementary school are encouraged to apply for the Spanish Immersion Program.The immersion program is generally designed for English only and non-Spanish speaking households. Enrolling a child should be viewed as a commitment from Kindergarten through 6th Grade. The goals of the program are realized when students remain in the Spanish Immersion track until they graduate from high school. It is not in the best interest of students to be enrolled for only a one or two year experience.
Immersion is not for everyone. Many parents want their children to master the English language before learning a second language. Additionally, parents of children with auditory problems, language delays or other challenges to learning should seriously consider the appropriateness of this program for their child. A consultation with our Academic Services Director, School Counselor and Principal may help clarify whether to enroll in this program.
Why choose the Spanish Immersion Program for my child?
Studies indicate that learning a second language at an early age has many benefits:
- There is a positive effect in cognitive development and intellectual growth.
- It fosters cross-cultural understanding and encourages engagement in global conversations.
- Students achieve proficiency and depth in the Spanish language.
- Research indicates students acquire a native-like pronunciation when learning a language at an early age.
- Spanish Immersion produces successful learners who perform well on standardized tests.
- Students have increased career opportunities where communication skills in Spanish is an asset.
Is it more difficult for a child to acquire two languages at once?
There is no evidence to suggest this. A child doesn’t have to be exceptional to become bilingual. As long as the child is exposed to two languages throughout early childhood, he or she will acquire them both. Additional activities at home are not required for a child to successfully learn a second language.
How will Spanish Immersion affect my child’s English language and literacy development?
Research consistently has demonstrated that the immersion experience actually enhances English language development. It should be noted that in full immersion students’ English development may lag temporarily in reading, word knowledge, and spelling while instruction is occurring exclusively in Spanish. However, it is important for parents to understand that this lag is temporary and to be expected.Immersion students like all King’s students, need consistent exposure to, and support of, English at home. Parents need to provide their children with experiences that will enhance their English language and literacy development. We encourage all parents at King’s to read to their children 20 minutes every day and involve them in games and activities that compliment English learning. Research shows that the stronger the development of the native language, the greater the proficiency in the immersion language, so children who enter an immersion program with a strong base in English will succeed more easily than those whose English skills are not as strong.
Will the Spanish Immersion students learn the same things as the students in the traditional program?
Students in Spanish Immersion classrooms will receive the same curriculum as students in the traditional English speaking classes. They will also attend the same specialists’ classes (with the exception of Spanish) and will be taught in English. The Spanish and English students will also interact together through worship, extended learning trips, assemblies, lunch, recesses, some specialists and engage in cross language teaching and sharing.
Is any English used in the Spanish classroom?
The goal of this program is full immersion in Spanish but at the teacher’s discretion, English may be used at times to ensure the intellectual, socio-emotional and well-being of a student or the group. Report cards, notices and newsletters are issued in English.
What role do parents play in the Spanish Immersion Program?
A long-term commitment is essential for children to experience the great benefits an immersion education yields. Parents can support their child in these ways:
- Make a long-term commitment to immersion, K-6.
- Develop an understanding of immersion education.
- Provide experiences outside of school to develop English language skills.
- Encourage the use of the second language outside of school.
- Most importantly, be sure your child attends school every day.
- Volunteer at school and in your child’s classroom.
How do I apply?
We are now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 fall kindergarten class. Applications are due by Friday, March 20, 2020. To apply go to www.kingsschools.org/admissions. Students enter the program in kindergarten. Children are not screened or pre-selected on the basis of IQ or other variables. To ensure academic achievement and success for students in the Spanish Immersion Program, it is necessary for families to commit to the program for seven years (K-6). Active parent support is important to the long term success of the program. If openings occur during Grades 1 through 5, students may test in to those grades. At that point, entry is by test-in/evaluation only. Students must be at grade level in all areas and will take a written and oral test in Spanish.
King’s commits to providing a fair and open process for enrolling new students into the Spanish Immersion program. If applications for King’s Spanish Immersion Kindergarten class exceed the number of available openings (20 students), a lottery will be conducted to determine the enrollment and wait-list order. The lottery will draw names at random during the week of March 23, 2020, with priority consideration given to siblings of currently enrolled Spanish Immersion students and to balancing the number of boys and girls in the class. Final notifications will be sent out on Friday, March 29, 2019.
Please call our Admissions Office at 206-289-7783 for further information.