Spanish Immersion Program
Studies have shown that learning more than one language helps young children academically and culturally. They develop good problem‐solving skills, and a positive awareness of other cultures. The younger children are when exposed to new languages and sounds, the greater the benefits.
In 2012, due to overwhelming interest from families of children enrolled at Kinderplatz, we added a Spanish immersion component to our already highly successful Pre-Kindergarten Program.
As the program has grown and evolved, in 2014 Kinderplatz employed the assistance of renown writer and consultant, Angèle Sancho Passe, in developing a comprehensive language immersion approach that meets young children’s needs in developmentally appropriate ways while preparing them for entrance into kindergarten.
Angèle Sancho Passe, M.A is a best-selling author and consultant in early childhood education. She has many years of experience as a teacher, school district administrator, university faculty, master trainer, and coach. Angèle is the 2012 recipient of the Evelyn House award for outstanding contribution to the field of early childhood education in Minnesota. Additionally, she has served on the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Please visit her website to read more about her and her literary works.
BENEFITS OF EARLY LANGUAGE IMMERSION
Even though some children attending the Spanish Immersion Program at Kinderplatz may not continue on (or have access) to a Spanish immersion grade school, there is still great value in providing this unique and rewarding program for our young students.
The older a person becomes, the harder it is to learn a new language, especially with any kind of native-like ability. Having exposure to and/or learning another language at a young age makes it easier to learn any language (i.e. a child who learns Spanish in preschool will have an advantage learning French or German, or any other language as well), due to their greater understanding of sentence structure, culture and language in general. Children’s brains in early childhood are extremely pliable, making young children much more capable of hearing and producing new sounds with greater ease than older children and adults. For these reasons, early childhood is the optimal age for providing children with exposure to other languages, increasing their ability to develop native-like language skills in more than one language.
How the Program Works
The Spanish Immersion Program at Kinderplatz follows the Model of Dual Language Instruction for Preschool Children: Teaching Spanish and Supporting English as designed by Angèle Sancho Passe in collaboration with our excellent native and near-native Spanish speaking teachers. The Spanish Immersion teachers follow the same curriculum approach (The Creative Curriculum) and use the same assessment system (Teaching Strategies GOLD®) as the rest of the center, ensuring consistent growth across all developmental domains in all Kinderplatz programming. All Kinderplatz classrooms utilize play as the primary vehicle for learning and focus on the development of essential social-emotional skills. Please contact the director for more information about the program plan.
The program is designed for families who are willing to make a two-year commitment for their children, for both a preschool and pre-kindergarten level of experience, and is best suited to children who attend full-time. This commitment allows the teachers the appropriate length of time to help children develop a strong foundation in Spanish, while also providing adequate support in English and other kindergarten readiness preparation skills.
PLEASE NOTE: The Spanish Immersion Program at Kinderplatz is intended for children whose first language is NOT Spanish and who already meet age-level assessment criteria in English.
\ Also, the Spanish Immersion Program is separate from (and not to be confused with) the instructional Spanish lessons the toddlers and preschoolers receive weekly during the school year. Our instructional Spanish lessons are typically taught by different (usually non-native) long-term staff member(s) with Spanish language education.