How does the Dual Language Program work at Montessori Community School?
In the dual language class, children are encouraged to evenly divide their time between Montessori works in English and Spanish. One teacher speaks and presents lessons to the children in English while the other speaks and presents lessons in Spanish. Teachers generally speak their native language though the Spanish teachers are bilingual in case a child needs assistance in English.
With time, every child in the class will learn Spanish. Children in the classroom have the opportunity to learn how to communicate in both languages. They will experience speaking, listening, reading and writing. Reading and speaking in both languages is necessary to become bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural.
Does it affect or help my child if I have a language background?
Every child that is enrolled in the Dual Program goes through the same process of learning. Children who hear other languages spoken at home tend to learn languages faster. Some ideas for home are:
- Interact with your child.
- Learn about dual language education.
- Encourage your child to speak the second language.
- Give your child the benefit of the doubt.
- Do not ask your child to translate. This requires advanced skills that could frustrate your child.
- Try to avoid comparing your child’s progress to that of other children. Rates of progress differ.
- Be willing to participate in opportunities to expose your child to Spanish and culture(s) outside school.
- Praise your child for his or her progress.
Why should my child be enrolled in dual language?
- The dual language program offers your child the chance to develop communication ability in Spanish and English. This could be difficult at first, but being bilingual may enhance your child’s potential opportunities (jobs, culture, etc).
- Acquisition of language by children has been studied widely. Children have advantages over adults in language learning. Natural curiosity and a willingness to make mistakes help the child. Adults often hesitate when speaking another language for fear of erroneous pronunciation or grammar. Children, especially young children, tend not to have that fear.
- Children easily pick up and model accents. Few adults who learn other languages pick up the correct accents. Many children do to the point at which they pronounce as well as a native speaker. Of course, those children generally start to learn the language before their teens with the help of native speakers.
The United States has approximately 50 million Spanish speakers. The Western United States including Utah have the highest percentage of Spanish speakers. Demographic and economic trends, including greater purchasing power among Latinos and Spanish speakers and interconnectedness in the Americas from Canada to Chile, suggest Spanish will grow even more important throughout the century. Additional reasons for learning languages including better access to other cultures and communication possibilities.