Young children have a decided advantage when a dual immersion kindergarten helps kids learn in two languages. Kids not only have a class in Spanish, but they learn their subjects in both English and Spanish instruction at a stage in their development when language learning is still in progress.
Magda Campos held up a flash card with a picture of an airplane and the letter “A”. The paraprofessional asked students at Gooding Elenentary School to repeat the word and its sounds in Spanish.
“Avion, avion, ah, ah, ah,” the children recited.
Next there was another word. “Oso”, Spanish for “bear.”
“Oso, oso, o, o, o,” they chanted.
They progressed through the whole alphabet. Afterward, they got high fives from Campos and switched to speaking in English.
“Three more minutes, and then you switch groups, OK?”
Gooding Elementary launched its dual-immersion kindergarten class this fall, with instructions in English and Spanish.
The class has 24 students — 12 with English as their native language and 12 for whom Spanish is their first language.
Lessons are conducted in English two days a week and Spanish the other two days.
Being able to speak, read and write in both languages opens many opportunities for students, said teacher Jeny Pavkov.
“This is an opportunity for them to keep their home language and build a second language.”
Only six Idaho school districts and one pubic charter school have a dual-immersion program.
St. Mary’s Catholic School in Boise is launching a kindergarten section in 2015.
Schools don’t need state approval for a dual-immersion class, said Christina Nava, who coordinates limited English proficiency programs for the Idaho Department of Education.