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Hello, I am starting to look for a language program or school for my daughter, who will have to change schools in third grade next year. Unfortunately we are not quite in the Berkeley area: we live in Castro Valley, so I would be interested in a radius that includes maybe San Ramon, Pleasanton, Dublin, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and thereabouts. I haven't found a whole lot in internet yet. Does anybody know of a list of dual language schools or programs? Or maybe an organization that would help me find them? Any information you could give me is greatly appreciated. Or if you have tried any dual language school in this area, would you mind sharing your opinion? Thank you JM
Keep in mind that they may not have any recently formed immersion schools on this list. Neither Manzanita Seed nor Melrose Leadership, both in Oakland, were on this list even though they have started their Spanish Immersion programs 3-4 years ago. There are a number of immersion schools in the Hayward/Livermore areas. Good luck! anon
This is a question for families whose children completed K-5 immersion programs, then went onto English-only middle and high schools. Did the immersion language ''stick''? Or did your child lose fluency and interest in the language from middle school onward? If your child was in immersion from K-8, is there a much better outcome in retaining the language?
Just some of the questions I'm contemplating as our great K-5 immersion experience will soon come to a close. BTW we are in private K-8 French immersion program but are considering moving to Piedmont for middle and high school. We will do public high school for sure, but are contemplating whether it's worth the financial investment to continue in immersion 6-8. We all speak French, but are anglophones and default toward English at home. Immersion mom
French is a great part of EB's program, and middle school definitely helps them solidify it. The kids do more writing, read more interesting books in French, and their understanding of the language ''gels.'' It's hard to explain, but it's similar to the moment when your kid goes from practicing piano to just playing it. My kids' friends who left EB tend to have trouble maintaining their French if they don't speak it at home, but that varies from family to family.
But for me, there are other parts of the program that are just as compelling
as the language immersion, and those were what tipped the scales in favor of
having my youngest stay at EB. I asked my high schoolers what advice they
would give you, and here's what they said:
''EB teaches you perfect study habits -- when you reach high school you know how to organize your time, and you've already covered some of the material in your freshman classes.''
''Middle School is awkward no matter where you go, but at EB you know that there are people looking out for you. They work really hard to prevent bullying and make sure nobody falls through the cracks.''
''You get to go through the transformation [from kid to teenager] in an environment where everybody cares about education, and by the time you hit high school you're pointed in the right direction.'' All of these ring true with my experience as a parent. There are lots of good schools out there, and lots of ways to give your child a good start for high school and beyond. But EB has worked really well for my family, for reasons that go way beyond language. another immersion mom
We are strongly considering enrolling our child into one of the local Foreign Language Immersion schools for Kindergarten. We are excited about the prospect of having a bilingual child for cultural, cognitive and other reasons, but are uncertain about what will become of the language once they are in high school, with no local ''Immersion'' high school options. Did your child go through an immersion K-8? Was having that 2nd language useful in a practical sense after they attended high school/college? Any strategies for retaining a language if we (parents) are not speakers of that 2nd language? Do high schools offer advanced language classes to support kids that had K-8 immersion?? Any advice or anecdotes appreciated. Thanks! Language mom
There were unanticipated side effects of the French-American system: math was taught using different techniques and definitions (so much for math being a universal language), creating some confusion and making it hard for parents to help with homework; math word problems were sometimes hard for the wrong reason, using everyday French expressions that an American child wouldn't have encountered (e.g. a problem about gas mileage using the equivalent of ''fill her up with high octane''); and even in 8th grade, the American students I knew couldn't express themselves well enough in writing to learn principles of good composition in French. Because of differences in the curriculum, she had to work extra hard in 9th grade in English and Science, but caught up after one tough semester.
Entering high school, she was offered the option of either French 3 or 4. To this day, she's convinced that she made the right choice with 3 because she needed a solid grammar review (and a few peers went into French 2). With immersion she had confused verb forms that have the same sound but different spellings, and she often didn't know the reasons behind the grammar she heard. She took French 3, 4, and 5, aced both French AP's and the French SAT. She had a native speaker teacher one or two of those years, and no French her senior year. In college she minored in French and spent a term in Paris. By then, her accent had lost something, but still impressed the French. They wouldn't have mistaken her for a native speaker, but could've sworn that her mother was French (her surname is English) or that she lived in France as a young child. She describes herself as fluent, but not bilingual, and was able to use the language in an internship in France after college graduation, If the opportunity ever arises for her to use French in her work, she would do very well. As an adult, she appreciates having had the opportunity to learn a second language when she was young, though it was not without its trade-offs and difficulties. une maman americaine
e're planning to enroll our daughter in preschool in Fall 2007, when she'll be almost 3. We've started looking into preschools and are considering bilingual Spanish/English -- we're on the Centro Vida list but pretty far down. Our daughter has a Spanish-speaking nanny and, at 21 mos, speaks and understands quite a lot of Spanish (mas uvas and mas sandia being among her favorite words). As for her parents, one of us speaks a lot of Spanish and the other speaks a tiny bit, but neither of us is fluent nor Latino.
Why I'm writing: I'm looking for advice from Berkeley families with older kids who can explain our options. I've heard anecdotally that it's hard for non-native speakers to get into the Spanish immersion program(s) in Berkeley elem. schools. But I know no details. I also know that given that we don't speak Spanish at home, it's highly unlikely that she'll end up fluent, but still, we'd love it if she continued to spend at least part of her day speaking Spanish.
So I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to briefly map out the possibilities for us. Other than Centro Vida, what other preschools speak Spanish at least some of the time? Then on to kindergarten, elem. school: what are her options for speaking Spanish? Are all the programs impossible for non-native speakers to get into? Some might suggest that we just enroll her in an afterschool Spanish class in a couple years, but before we give up on the idea of Spanish immersion I'd love to hear what others' experiences have been. Thanks! wondering where this is leading
The school still has a couple of spots open, so you might want to follow up right away. You can learn more at ebinternacional.org, or email email@example.com;
The lottery for the Berkeley immersion programs is definitely unpredictable but we were wait-listed both times and my first son did the English K and switched into the Spanish at first grade and he is doing fine now after 2nd grade. Though slots do not always open up, sometimes they do because families move out of the District or someone is held back. My nephew even got in at 2nd grade and although he is taking longer to get up to speed in Spanish, he is still benefiting from the program.
My advice, apply, cross your finges, and if you get on the wait-list, keep in touch with the central office and the school to say you really want to keep on the list and take any future opening.
Other ideas: One family I know got the Spanish worksheets from the K teacher and did that as extra homework to keep the child familiar with the work. (Sometimes the district says they want to ''test'' in children from the waitlist to make sure they can keep up if they switch over after K.) Plus, if you are planning to pay for afterschool care, maybe spending the money on an on-going relationship with a Spanish-speaking nanny/babysitter is a better bet to keep up the exposure to Spanish.
Anyway, any level of relationship to Spanish will help your kid in the future of California. I personally did not study Spanish til high-school and am now bilingual after college study, travel abroad and personal efforts to use it here in the Bay Area, so it is never too late to start bi-lingual mom
I had given up on looking for preschools with Spanish programs, when I heard about a brand-new school. Escuela Bilingue Internacional (www.ebinternacional.org), which offers a preschool to eighth grade education, will open its doors for the first time in September. It will be housed in the former St. Augustine elementary school in Rockridge Oakland. The school is at 410 Alcatraz Avenue. Phone number: 1-510-653-3324
I know they don't have a track record, but it is the program that I wanted so I enrolled my son. I have met the teachers, and they are all native speakers and many even have Master's degrees plus decades of teaching experience. The administrators have been enthusiastic and the parents very involved, helping with the painting and opening of the school. If you are serious about a Spanish education for your daughter, please do join us! My understanding is there is still room in the kindergarten classroom. Elisa
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