Every day from lunch time until the end of the school day, veteran early childhood educator Marcela Fridman, teaches the class in Spanish. Ms. Marcela and Ms. Carolyn seamlessly transition the classroom curriculum into Spanish. For example, when the children learned about the Jewish festival of Sukkot, they learned about gathering in the sukkah, an outdoor structure through which the children can see the open sky. Since Sukkot is a time when the family gathers in the sukkah to appreciate nature, the afternoon curriculum included the Spanish words for family members. Because the Spanish language education is tied to the existing curriculum, it provides the students with context for the new vocabulary that they acquire every day.
“We are so excited for this program, which was spearheaded by our parents, who understand the value of quality early childhood education,” said Sandra Kopp, Principal of Early Childhood Education and Kindergarten Liaison, “The children participate daily in Spanish literacy activities through books, story-telling and songs that mirror what is going on in the classroom in the morning.” Kopp and Fridman work closely to create opportunities for small group conversations in the classroom in order to accommodate children of different levels of fluency.
Pre-Kindergarten parent Sheila Oretsky loves the new program. “We have always wanted our children to be bilingual, and this program allows our daughter, who lives in an English-speaking household, to be exposed to Spanish language for a significant part of the school day.”
The Spanish Immersion classroom is being piloted in the pre-kindergarten class for the 2018-2019 school year, with plans to expand the program into the three year-old classes.