Spanish is spoken throughout the Americas and the rest of the world. One of the official languages of the United Nations, it is also the official language in 14 countries. The Spanish-speaking world is rich in diversity, and children who participate in the Dual-Language Program at BCCS are also tapping into a long association the school has had with Spanish-speaking communities in New York.
English- and Spanish-speaking children learn both their primary and a secondary language in an immersion environment. Following a 50/50 model, 50% of the students are English-speaking and 50% Spanish-speaking, and one day is Spanish and the next day is in English. There is NOT a duplicate of lessons but a matriculation of the topic or skill.
Applications for the 2017–18 school year will open December 2016. Please contact our Parent Coordinator, Ms. Emani Ramos Byam or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are applying for Native Spanish Speakers seats in our Dual Language Program please be sure to include on your application. We will schedule a time for your child to take a simple skills test on Spanish in February 2017. Please contact our Parent Coordinator, Ms. Emani Ramos Byam or email at email@example.com for questions or concerns.
Students will have the benefit of learning a 2nd language while enriching their native language. All children will learn appropriate grade level content while developing their bilingual proficiency.
We currently follow the 50/50 model of instruction, where children receive 50% of instruction in English, and 50% of instruction in Spanish. Approximately 50% of the students are Spanish native speakers and approximately 50% are English-dominant. In the side-by-side model, students spend one day in the “English” class, and one day in the “Spanish” class. We note which language day will be spoked by the Red or Blue character outside at the front door. During the reading and writing workshops, the teacher may pull aside a small group of students or individual students to work with them in the language they are reading and writing in. Math is taught in English. Social Studies and Science is integrated in the literacy block through read alouds, songs and arts & crafts activities in the classroom as well as through field trips and multicultural presentations outside of the classroom. Science, Gym, Music and Art are taught by specialty teachers in English. Students meet with specialty teachers five times a week.
Our dual language model for PreK will be different. Launching in 2017-18 school year we will offer a full immersion Spanish Prek class where by our head teacher will speak only Spanish to the children and our teacher's aide will speak English or Spanish to the children. This full immersion model will give our PreK students a natural introduction to the language before entering Kindergarten. Note our PreK immersion students will receive 1st priority to the K dual language admission.
The overall goal of our DLP program is for all students to be bilingual, bi-literate, and bi-cultural. By the end of 5th grade, students will be able to: 1. Use 2 languages comfortably and effectively in social situations appropriate for their age level 2. Communicate effectively through reading and writing in 2 languages at a level appropriate for their age 3. Perform at or above grade level standard
Language Development Process
Students first acquire and produce social language (greetings, basic sentences and vocabulary) and later academic language (higher tier vocabulary and more complex sentence structures). Research shows (Cummins, 1981) that it takes two to three years to develop social language and at least five to seven years to develop academic language. Some factors influencing the development of a second language include exposure to the language outside of school, quality of teaching, parent involvement, personal motivation, emotional response and social factors. Learning a second language starting in Kindergarten requires time. An english proficent student who does not speak Spanish outside of school will take between 6-12 months to utter his/her first word in Spanish. Parents need to be armed with patience and understanding of the challenge this poses for their child. Most english proficient children will start producing complete simple sentences in Spanish after 2-3 full years in the program. They will read fluently in Spanish at one or two grade levels below after 5-6 full years in the program.
Students, who are accepted as Spanish speakers, read and write in Spanish for two years before reading and writing in English. Students, who are accepted as English proficent, read and write in English for two years before reading and writing in Spanish. Both groups are exposed to print in the other language, but they are asked to master only one within the first two years of schooling. This is called a sequential biliteracy approach. A sequential biliteracy approach means to teach to read and write in one language first and then in the second language. It is different from a simultaneous biliteracy approach, which means that children learn to read in both languages at the same time. Research shows that children learn best by reading and writing in their first language first and then transferring reading and writing skills to the second language. Study after study has demonstrated that there is a strong and positive correlation between literacy in the first language and learning a second language (New York State Education Department, 2000; Clay, 1993) and that the degree of children’s first language proficiency is a strong predictor of their second language development (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). Literacy in a child’s first language establishes a knowledge, concept and skills base that transfers from first language reading to reading in a second language (Collier & Thomas, 1992; Cummins, 1989; Escamilla, 1987; Rodríguez, 1988).
When students reach a very advanced reading level in their first language as well as demonstrate basic listening and speaking proficiency in the second language (i.e. early chapter books), teachers will begin teaching them to read in the other language.
Parents often express concern about their child becoming confused. Research has shown that children can differentiate languages at a very early age. When spoken to in one language, they usually answer back in that language unless they do not have sufficient vocabulary to express themselves. Teachers will use well-defined times of the day to assist students in making that differentiation, and will use different colored papers and pens for instruction in English and Spanish.
What are the parent requirements/expectations? Parent involvement is an Integral part of our Dual Language Programs. It is a huge commitment from the parents and the students. As stated above, parents must play an active role in developing their child’s bi-literacy and bi-culturalism. Parents are encouraged to volunteer in the classroom and to work with their children on language skills at home. We have launched a DL Playgroup for parents to take children during off school time to cultural events related to Spanish and maybe even travel together. Remember children will only use a language if they deem it useful. It is your job as a parent to help facilitate that usability.