Dual Language Program Goals
The primary objective of an Early Childhood Dual Language Program is to implement cultural and linguistic education which is a developmentally appropriate curriculum in preschools, where children develop their first language and learn a second language through a rigorous academic program. Together, native English speakers and Spanish speakers engage in a rich educational experiences to achieve the program’s three principal goals:
- Students develop high levels of proficiency in the first (L1) and second language (L2).
- Students perform at or above grade level in academic areas in both languages as they move through elementary school.
- Students demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors which they maintain throughout their adult lives.
What are the Dual Language benefits?
The Early Childhood Dual Language Program advocates the use of learning and teaching strategies that are founded on developmentally appropriate practices such as:
- cooperative learning
- thematic approach
- learning centers
- hands-on teaching and learning
- appropriate use of technology.
An Early Childhood Dual-Language Program offers unique opportunities for participating students to:
- Develop two languages,
- Form a positive self image,
- Augment a better under-standing and respect for other cultures, and to
- Engage in a dynamic and challenging academic curriculum.
The program presents parents and the community with optimum and on-going opportunities for communication, understanding, and collaboration between home and school, as well as important and pertinent resources for parents’ own personal growth and for assisting with their children’s academic, linguistic, and social development throughout their academic life.
Dual Language Program Models
Dual language programs are utilized by schools to educate children in two languages simultaneously. Each school determines the percentage allocated to each language.
BCA uses the 90/10 DLI model which is a program where Spanish is utilized most of the time. This program gradually increases the proportion of English instruction, until both languages are used equally in instruction. One teacher is sufficient since the instructor speaks Spanish most of the time.
Bilingual Child Dual Language Curriculum
- Nursery School for Toddlers & Twos: 90/10 model (English is only used when necessary)
- Preschool for Three year olds: 90/10 model (Limited English used)
- Pre-K for Four and Five year olds: 80/20 model by content area:
- Language Arts: Instruction is delivered in Spanish
- Mathematics: Instruction is delivered in Spanish & English
- Science: Instruction is delivered in Spanish & English
- Social Studies: Instruction is delivered in Spanish using thematic units
- Learning Centers: Both languages used in centers to develop biliteracy and bilingualism
“What if my child gets upset because they do not understand the teacher?”
Typically teachers of young children who are struggling (or upset) will use the child’s native language when/if possible. Most teachers of young children want a child to feel successful, so if English is the child’s native language, and they are lost and confused, it is not effective. All teachers want to ensure a child feels loved, secure, and comfortable with their environment. This reduces the stress and allows learning to take place.
“My child was in a Spanish Immersion program for almost a year, and never spoke in Spanish when we asked her. What happened?”
Although we cannot answer specific questions on learning, we can say that some children learning a new language undergo what is called the “silent period”.. And although they may not be speaking it, we can bet they really understand. Also since your child was exposed to the sounds and phonics of the new language, it will be easier to pick it up fully later in life. Please visit the following website for more information on “the silent period of second language acquisition”
This information is adapted from the following research and material at:
District Dual Language programs