Dual language immersion programs are increasing in number and popularity. In Gwinnett County, Ga, six schools will offer dual language immersion, beginning in kindergarten.
Now entering their third year, the DLI programs are offered in five schools in Spanish and in French in one school. Students learn half the day in English, and half the day in the foreign language. With one teacher, they learn math, science and literacy in the new language. With a second teacher, they learn language arts and social studies in English.
Over 80 percent of the student population at one of the schools in Norcross, Baldwin Elementary, are not native English speakers, nor do they speak English at home.
According to Baldwin Principal Brenda Johnson, Spanish speakers can learn in a familiar language while learning English. In addition, parents can be engaged. “Especially for our parents,” she said, “to let them know to build that parent capacity so they are also building their engagement, and it’s not just this linear focus on English, but we can also reach them in their own target language.”