Members of the were greeted with a “Hola!” at their meeting on January 5 at the from members of Jennifer Levi’s kindergarten class, the same one currently piloting the elementary world language program, otherwise known as .
The immersion program began this year with kindergarten teacher Laura Copi at the Willis Avenue School while Stephanie Klein will be teaching at and on an alternate day schedule. Kindergarten students receive immersion 40 minutes twice a week while it is 30 minutes in the first grade.
“We teach different things like colors, numbers, animals, shapes, readings, how to say ‘goodbye,’ how to say ‘hello,’ what their name is, ask a lot of questions so they can do lots of different activities so they interact in Spanish,” Copi said. “They’re just really trying to have as much fun as they can learning a language.”
The students began by performing a sing-song version of “Hello, Friends” before moving on to answering questions about numbers, shapes, colors and animals and their sounds.
“These are the kinds of things that we do every day in a normal class,” Klein said.
“We figured we’d just show you instead of talk to you,” Coppi said about the program.
Students have been doing such activities since the beginning of the school year, but was only the second day in which they had been reviewing the shapes.
“We weren’t planning on doing them,” Copi said, “but they did so well today that I said let’s just throw it in, almost just for fun.”
The teachers have provided parents with some websites for review in lieu of homework as well as sending a vocabulary list and the song lyrics home in a newsletter.
“Lots of follow-through directions (so) they’re able to understand a lot that they’re not really able to reproduce but they’re understanding a lot more,” Klein said.
“I personally am very impressed,” board president Christine Napolitano said, recalling her own Spanish courses during her high school years.
One parent added that she was “most impressed” by the children’s comprehension of the language.
“This is their program, they started it from scratch, they worked hard, everything they’re doing they created themselves through research and through best practice,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler said.