In order to answer: What is Spanish immersion kindergarten? let tell you an history:
Chicago, February of 2021. You open the door, shake the snow off your boots and close the door behind you to keep the cold gusts of wind out. The welcoming lobby is pleasant and welcoming, but you did not drive three hundred miles for a pleasant lobby. After you hand your tickets to the greeter, you walk through another grey door and immediately the works of Vincent Van Gogh surround you, projected on all sides of the room. Van Gogh on the ceiling, Van Gogh on the floor, Van Gogh on the walls, Van Gogh on your phone lock screen. You are experiencing full art immersion.
You may be asking what in the world does an immersive art exhibit have to do with teaching Spanish to kindergarteners?
Here at Cultural Bytes, we believe that immersion is the best method with which to learn a new language. We don’t want your child to simply learn vocabulary for an hour and then throw it in the bottom of their backpacks where old papers go to die, we want them to consistently interact with language on all sides in a way that makes it come alive.
In the classroom (whether online or in person), our teachers speak exclusively Spanish unless clarification needs to be made. Your child will not learn the vocab “papel (paper) y pegamento (glue)” and then receive the instructions for the craft in English. They will hear “por favor, tome su papel y pegamento para el tiempo de artesanía” (please grab your paper and glue for craft time) and will be asked to respond back in Spanish as they are able. A thousand conversations will be similar to this one:
“Me gusta my toy,” your child says.
“¿Te gusta qué?” (you like what?) the teacher responds.
“Me gusta mi…uh…” your child struggles to remember the word for ‘toy.’
“Juguete,” the teacher responds gently. “otra vez por favor” (again, please).
“Me gusta mi juguete,” says the child displaying their dinosaur toy to the teacher. This is the patient, gentle, persistent and effective method of immersive learning.
Spanish in playtime, Spanish in craft time, Spanish in encouragement, Spanish in their backpack, Spanish on the tongue, Spanish in the brain and before you know it, your child is well on their way to learning and communicating the language effectively.