Top 5 Myths About Spanish Immersion Preschool Education


When we founded Bright Minds Childcare in Aurora in 2006, now doing business as Denver International SchoolHouse, immersing young preschool aged children in a multicultural bilingual environment with the intention of introducing Spanish as a second language was not understood by most. Today you can find numerous studies and statistics demonstrating the vast array of benefits of bilingualism as well as introducing that second language in the early childhood years.

The benefits of immersion education have resonated with many parents around the United States. However, there are still some common myths about immersion education that we’d like to clear up. Let’s start with some background knowledge:

What is Immersion?

Spanish Immersion means that your child will be immersed in (surrounded by) the Spanish language during his/her preschool day. He/she will experience all the joys of "regular" preschool - all will be presented in Spanish. In other words, our teachers speak 100% Spanish throughout the day to communicate with the children. The children are learning conversational Spanish not just Spanish vocabulary. 

 

Myth 1

My Child Won't Understand What's Going on in the Classroom
 
Reality: At Denver International SchoolHouse, our top concern is the child. We will not let children feel lost because of a language barrier. We find that most kids do great in an immersion setting and pick the language up very quickly. To help a new child learn the language the teacher will use pictures as well as motioning to the child to communicate what is needed.  The other children in the classroom will also notice if a child is not understanding and they will help!  It is the same process for anyone learning any language at a young age!

Myth 2

Spanish Immersion Education is for Non-English Native Speakers
 

Reality: English, Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic…we have a variety of main languages spoken at the homes of our children, which seems to be the case for most preschool immersion programs. At DIS, the majority of our families (about 85%) are primarily English speakers at home. We find that most families want their children to be exposed to a second language in the most natural and comfortable way, and that’s why they choose a language immersion preschool.

Myth 3

My Child Will Fall Behind Academically
 

Reality: Spanish isn’t what we are teaching – it is the instrument in which we deliver our preschool education. Therefore, if you are thinking about enrolling at a Spanish Immersion preschool, consider the academic philosophy along with the mission and vision to determine the level of academic growth the preschool can provide for your child. At DIS we follow a teacher directed model of emergent curriculum. We also provide structure for learning through play and meaningful experiences and activities. Our Mission is to educate and nurture each child’s individuality within a culturally diverse, bilingual community so that every child develops a true passion for learning and an ability to engage in any environment and community.

Myth 4

My Child Will Not Learn Enough English
 
Reality: One of the most common myths we hear about Spanish immersion preschool education is that parents are afraid that their children won’t develop the English speaking skills they need. However, think about how much time they spend outside of the classroom! If this were true, children raised in bilingual households would all have delayed speech, which is certainly not the case whatsoever. Children will develop English skills from their peers (in and outside of the classroom), in their environment, from the media, at home, and in every other aspect of their lives. They are constantly exposed to it, and living in an English-speaking environment is enough for the children to be bilingual in both languages. At Denver International SchoolHouse we do also cover English preschool topics 30 minutes each day in our P1 and P2 classroom and twice a week for 30 minutes in our P3 classroom. When children leave our school they will be working on first grade skills in the surrounding public schools where only English is spoken.

Myth 5

It's Not Worthwhile Because We Don't Speak Spanish at Home
 

Reality: Even if you as a parent speak zero Spanish at home, your child will be learning it in the classroom. You can always help to develop these habits through fun ways, like having your child teach you! Children love telling you about what they did at school and showing you what they learned. Teachers and staff will communicate with parents in their main language so they don’t feel as though they are left out!