Thursday, October 11, 2007

New World Order

Even though my oldest, Olivia, is only in 3rd grade, homework time is often stressful, and I guess it’s understandable since Olivia’s homework is in Spanish and neither Loverman or I are native Spanish speakers. Both Olivia and Yannick are in an immersion program at their school and they learn most of their lessons in Spanish. From the first day of kindergarten through 4th grade, their teachers speak to them in Spanish and the kids are expected to respond in Spanish, so for Olivia, this is her 4th year of Spanish and she surpassed her parent’s Spanish comprehension by the middle of 1st grade. Yannick’s only in his fifth week of kindergarten, so fortunately, we’re still of assistance to the little guy, but he’s a quick learner, so I guess we’d better watch out.

When family and friends hear that the kids learn in Spanish all day and find out that Loverman and I don’t speak much Spanish, they often ask why we chose to put the kids in a Spanish speaking program and for us it’s really simple, we’re preparing our children for the new world order.

Both Olivia and Yannick are bright, curious kids and when it came to finding a school that complemented our worldview, this school and its progressive academic approach seemed ideal. Sure, homework can be stressful, and communication with the mostly native Spanish-speaking teachers is sometimes challenging and sometimes, there are cultural nuances that need to be addressed, but overall, it’s exceeded our expectations. See, we’re teaching our children that yes, we live in the U.S., but we’re also citizens of the world and both within and beyond the borders of this country, Spanish is widely spoken. Actually, 400 million people worldwide speak Spanish.

Children are sponges and adapt quite easily to learning a new language, culture, etc. Oftentimes, it’s the parents that must step outside our comfort zone to truly prepare our children to be competitive globally.

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