There are different models for dual language education.
A two-way (bilingual) model uses a balance of two languages, in this case, native English speakers and native Spanish speakers.
During kindergarten, teachers provide 90% of instruction in Spanish in order to facilitate early Spanish acquisition. In grades 1-6, English instruction is gradually increased across subject areas so that language use is split evenly in higher grades.
Because this program relies so heavily on parent support, it is imperative that parents know exactly what will be expected of them, and that they are committed to be part of the program through 6th grade.
Parents understand that in order for their children to become fluent and literate in a second language takes a multi-year commitment.
Although we can be efficient and intentional in our instruction, learning a second language does take time and work.
The purpose of homework is to provide students extra practice with a concept or skill they have already learned in class. Students should be able to do this practice independently, regardless of the language. The school and Teachers realizes that many parents are monolingual and will answer your questions/concerns.
Encourage your child by telling him/her how proud you are that he/she is learning a second language. Let your child know you are pleased with his/her progress. Show him/her that you value the ability to speak a second language.
Here are some suggestions on how parents can help:
Encourage your child’s interest in the language and other cultures.
Attend cultural events that feature the music, dance or food from the country where the language is spoken.
Provide books, videos, and other materials in the second language.
Be actively involved in your child’s school.
Teach your child the songs and nursery rhymes from his/her own heritage.
Read stories to your child in English/Spanish.
Encourage, but do not force your child to speak the second language at home.
Get to know your child’s teacher either by phone, email or personal visits.
Take time to get involved with school activities.
Keep informed of Dual Language programs.
Be supportive at all times of your child, the program and the teacher.
Do not feel discouraged if, at the beginning, your child cries or seems nervous about the experience.
Your child will need some time to adjust to this new challenge. From the start, the students are made to feel secure.
Be patient. By the end of the first month, most of the students are over the initial adjustment. When your child comes home, do not be upset if he/she does not feel like telling you about his/her day at school.
Children often are very tired after their day and are in need of a change once they get home. If you feel that your child is continuously experiencing anxiety, it would be wise to discuss this issue with your child’s teacher.