More and more parents want their kids to learn a second language—and these immersion programs are a great way to get started!
With careers becoming increasingly global—and communities becoming more and more diverse—it’s no surprise language immersion programs are popping to the top of city families wish lists.
While many suburbs have language schools and other year-round kids programs and workshops, often families want to consolidate these learning experiences into the school day—it’s more convenient, it’s more consistent and, often, in-school programs have more immediate applications for instruction. And, besides, if you can find a quality language immersion public school, there’s no out-of-pocket for this powerful curriculum.
If having bilingual kids is a priority, consider these communities.
District-wide “Dos Caminos” serves students in K through 5 in Mamaroneck and Larchmont. This dual-language immersion is designed for both English and Spanish speakers, and guides young learned to become bilingual and bi-literate. The program includes celebration, exploration and a commitment to gaining competencies in all areas of language learning and use.
White Plains (Westchester)
White Plains Public Schools offer a dual language academy. With courses in English and Spanish, students have a unique opportunity to develop dual literacy and grow as lifelong learners. All subject areas are taught in both languages, with clear-cut benchmarks set to ensure true conversational skills from a very young age.
Garden City (Long Island)
While it doesn’t extend past preschool, Spanish Immersion Workshop in Garden City offers full-time preschool and daycare with full Spanish immersion. This, the school explains, is better than standard 50/50 immersions—kids have ample opportunity to speak English at home and out of school so, during the day, lessons are 100% Spanish. The program also operates in Huntington.
Tarrytown’s Dual Language Program offers students an opportunity to learn Spanish. Immersion happens for all or most of the day, with literacy instruction in both Spanish and English. Spanish language content is also integrated into all or most academic subjects, giving students immediate use cases and better context for their daily lessons.
Glen Head (Long Island)
While not a full immersion, students in K through 2 are part of the state Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program. Here, kids take Mandarin multiple times per week, with added intensives after school and through language learning apps provided for at-home use. In third grade students can opt to continue with Mandarin or switch to a Spanish intensive. The district—North Shore—has been frequently recognized in state and national Mandarin recitation and literacy competitions.
In addition to English as a New Language, Ossining offers a bilingual program to students. The program begins in pre-K, with a two-way dual language approach — classes are taught in both English and Spanish. By integrating both native English and native Spanish speakers in the program, students learn from lessons and from one another.
New Rochelle (Westchester)
Westchester Public Schools have two strong Dual Language Programs — Spanish/English and Italian/English. Spanish is offered at Ward, Jefferson, Columbus and Trinity Elementary Schools, starting in kindergarten and first grade. Italian is offered in grades 3 to 5 at Jefferson School. For K to 2 families interested in Italian, apply to the Barnard School — here, Italian FLES is available.
To get your child into an immersion program, be sure to fill out an interest form during the winter of their pre-K or kindergarten year.
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