Dual Immersion Spanish Kindergarten
There’s a story behind the urgency to have my children receive a bilingual education, but it’s long, very emotional and, ultimately, not relevant to this post. I’ll share that story eventually, I promise. But for now, as I look over the photos of Alina’s Dual Immersion Spanish Kindergarten graduation only a few months ago, I realize that last year was perhaps the most amazing year of my motherhood to date.
You can take a peek into her Dual Immersion Spanish Kindergarten classroom and read exactly what was expected of her, or read about the very first day of her bilingual education journey, but I also hope to send this message: sending your monolingual child to school on day one and bringing home a child who’s ripe with bilingualism, in love with learning and so self-aware and connected to her own heritage at the end of a school year, quite honestly, changes a mother. It empowers and inspires. And it changed me.
Alina is a gorgeous reflection of her environment and I am so very proud of her. But, dare I say, I’m also very proud of myself too.
Dual Immersion Spanish Kindergarten is one word: amazing!
If I can say only one thing about starting a bilingual education, I would say this: DO IT! It’s so worth the effort and, to share a bit of what I’ve learned, here are a few tips on supporting the transformative experience of a bilingual education.
Loving Dual Immersion Spanish Kindergarten
In the photo above, my little girl is journaling in Spanish – like she did every morning this school year. She writes, “Yo estoy enojado porque necesita ir a primer grado.” Translated, she’s not thrilled about Kindergarten ending and having to transition to a new grade with a new teacher and friends. No one told her what to write… she just sat down and wrote what was in her heart. In Spanish.
Alina loved being a Kindergartner and I loved mothering her through it. It was an experience that has changed the course of our family, our values and the things I hope to accomplish as the Chief Legacy Builder. And do you see her face below? She was chosen to speak at her graduation and practiced for weeks before… she has so much pride in her heart and it makes me very emotional seeing it.
Mom Tips For Supporting Bilingual Education
Your best is good enough for them: So what if you’re not bilingual? Who cares if you “sound like a fool”? Do you know what your kids hear when their monolingual mom makes an effort to speak Spanish and embrace their bilingual education? Support. Respect. Enthusiasm. Confidence. EXPECTATION. If you expect your child to actually be bilingual (and aren’t just subscribing to a cool fad), then know that your best attempts to speak Spanish is good enough for them.
Squeeze in bilingual fun when you can: We love doing scavenger hunts in Spanish. It’s an easy way to reinforce vocabulary while getting active and exploring your environment. While traveling to Natinal Parks this summer, we looked for arboles, osos, and lots of other fun stuff. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking the kids to find a certain item (in Spanish. When it doubt, ask Google!), but the summer before Kindergarten I created a fun Spanish Printable for a Photo Scavenger Hunt that Alina LOVED.
Explore Latino heritage: Language should not be void of cultural relevance. Embrace the heritage that Spanish derives by exploring the cultures local to your children. For us, in Southern California, that means learning a lot about the beautiful Mexican culture. Visit historical/cultural sites (like Olvera Street here in LA), make recipes at home and be genuine in your pursuits to raise bilingual and culturally sensitive kids. Latino heritage is diverse and full of opportunities to support your child’s bilingual education.
The Best Year of My Motherhood
Goodness, the tears I’ve shed while viewing and editing these photos could fill a milk gallon. In the six years since I became a mother, my daughter’s year as a Dual Immersion Kindergarten student was the.best.one.yet.
Yes, my little girl is a phenomenal student – arriving as a people pleaser, rule follower and ahead of the game (in terms of academic standards) – but she left BILINGUAL. She reads in Spanish and English. She’s engaging in conversation with her great-grandmother and can discern accents.
I’m so proud of her – and of us, as a family and as her parents for committing to this process and encouraging her bilingual education.