Spanish Immersion at West Ottawa
Our Spanish Immersion program is designed to enrich the education of native-English speaking students by teaching most academic subjects in a second language (Spanish). The goal is for students to become proficient in Spanish and develop increased cultural awareness while reaching a high level of academic achievement. Students develop proficiency in the second language by hearing and using it to learn their school subjects rather than by solely studying the language itself.
In our Immersion program, or partial immersion, the regular school curriculum is taught in the immersion language for at least half of the school day. Immersion teachers use a wide repertoire of instructional strategies as they cover the school district’s curriculum while building students’ Spanish skills.
A Typical Day in First Grade
Most of the morning focuses on English Language Arts taught in English using the Houghton Mifflin series:
- Students work on phonetic reading strategies using Guided Reading groups, backpack books, and centers.
- Lucy Calkins writing strategies are utilized.
- Running Records and DIBELS are used to assess reading progress.
- In the afternoon, students have their specials in art, music, Spanish, physical wellness, and computers/technology.
- Math, science and social studies, and the daily calendar activity are taught in Spanish.
- For math, we use the Spanish version of Houghton Mifflin Math Expressions that is taught throughout the rest of the district.
- The Battle Creek Science program in Spanish is used for science, and it is a hands-on program which includes many experiments.
- Social studies incorporates literature associated with Houghton Mifflin reading series and portions of our Social Studies Alive series in Spanish.
During the Spanish portion of the day, teachers use songs, phrases, chants, poems, and rhymes and they carefully structure the day with familiar routines. The goal is to hear and use more and more Spanish throughout the year.
Weekly newsletters to parents are written in English. However, much of student work is in Spanish. Beginning in 2nd grade, students receive formal reading instruction in Spanish. In the upper grades, the districts math, science, and social studies curricula are taught in Spanish. Students also continue to build their English reading and writing skills while developing their reading and writing skills in Spanish.
Why choose Immersion for your child?
Research shows that truly learning a language at an early age and not just parroting memorized colors and numbers will…
- Positively affect intellectual growth
- Enhance a child’s mental development by giving the student more flexibility in thinking, in addition to developing problem solving skills
- Increase students sensitivity to language, its structure and its sounds
- Improve a child’s understanding of his or her native language
- Increase job opportunities
The ability to speak more than one language is increasingly important in today’s interdependent world.
- Studies show that Immersion students do at least as well and usually better than comparable non-immersion students.
- When a world language is learned at an early age, children have native-like pronunciation and grammar control.
- Americans fluent in other languages can benefit society by increasing global competitiveness and communication.
- The immersion experience helps students better understand other cultures.
West Ottawa’s Spanish Immersion program currently consists of 3 year old preschool, 4 year old preschool, kindergarten, first grade, third grade and fourth grade. The district expects to add one fifth grade classroom for the 2012-2013 school year.
Lakeshore Elementary School is currently hosting the Spanish Immersion program.
If you would like more about the program, please contact:
Please email Jens Milobinski with any questions, or call (616) 786-1400.