Thursday, December 27, 2012

The News Tribune: "Tacoma Kindergarteners Learn, Pray and Play in Two Languages" Article on Holy Rosary's Academia Juan Diego

We're very excited about Debbie Cafazzo's story on Pierce County's bilingual school! 

"During morning circle time, students recite the days of the week and count off each date on the calendar. Hands over hearts, they pledge allegiance to the flag. And – at this Catholic school – they kneel in prayer to start their day.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they do it all in Spanish. Tuesdays and Thursdays, the same routine happens in English.

And that’s just the start for these 26 kids, who are part of the school’s new two-way language immersion program called Academia Juan Diego.
The Academia launched this fall for preschool and kindergarten students. But Holy Rosary Principal Tim Uhl said the goal is to grow the program a year at a time so that by 2020, students in the entire school, through grade eight, will be receiving the same kind of language instruction."

Teacher Amparo Farias says, "You have to find creative ways (to teach),” she said. She sometimes records a song in Spanish on her home answering machine, then assigns kids and parents to call up and listen for homework.

One frequently asked question concerns the wisdom of instructing children in two languages. Doesn’t that confuse kids?

Farias said research has shown that developing a second language is easier for younger children, whose brains are primed to soak up language cues.

“They’re not embarrassed to make mistakes,” she said.

The ability is there, she believes. “You just have to tap into it.”

Read the entire article here plus watch some video the Tribune has posted of the students as well:
  Thank you to Debbie, Dr. Uhl and the team!   Photo by Peter Halley for The News Tribune.

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