A successful bilingual program which features kindergarteners learning lessons in two languages has given children the idea that dual language communication is a regular part of life.
For half a day at Metcalf school in Holyoke, MA, a dozen kindergarteners learn alphabet, math, science, and numbers in a classroom where they can only speak Spanish. Another dozen students study the same material in English. In the afternoon, the groups switch languages, continuing lessons in the opposite language they spoke in the morning.
The dual language program started in Holyoke just this past fall. It is a special interest of Superintendent of School Sergio Paez, who promised to help kids become bilingual and biliterate in english and Spanish when he was hired as district superintendent in 2013.
“I believe our students need the opportunity to be part of the global economy,” Paez said. “I had the opportunity to have my own kids in the program in Leominster and wanted to bring that experience to Holyoke.”