Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Future Bilingual Kid

My daughter got into the Spanish immersion program!

They started immersion programs last year in our district, and my niece, a current 1st grader, is one of the children in the first cohort. My niece is learning Chinese. My niece has taught me some cool phrases in Chinese, all of which I have already forgotten.

The program goes from 1st to 6th grade. They do half of their schoolday in English and the other half in the foreign language.

We will have to send our daughter to a different elementary school than the one she attended for kindergarten, one mile farther away from our home, but I think it is worth it for the opportunity for her to be bilingual by the time she is 12.

I speak Spanish as a second language. I learned while spending a year and a half as a missionary in the Dominican Republic. I tried to teach my daughter Spanish myself when she was a toddler. Back then she had a fairly impressive Spanish vocabulary, mostly consisting of the Spanish words for different kinds of toys and animals.  But she quickly learned that her English words were more useful and stopped using the Spanish ones.

I recently talked to a co-worker whose husband is a native Spanish speaker, and they didn't manage to teach their kids Spanish, either, so I don't feel so bad that I couldn't do it. She wishes an immersion program had been available when her children were in elementary school.

I told my daughter that the two of us could share secrets in Spanish after she learns it, because Daddy doesn't speak it, but she nobly offered to teach him Spanish as well.

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