It is almost a clichd observation to suggest that languages are best learned at an early age. As someone who teaches K-12 foreign language methodology courses, it has been a genuine pleasure to have observed several Spanish classes at Stevens Creek and South Columbia Elementary Schools and to witness the success achieved by the Spanish program.
It is a wonderful experience to observe classes conducted exclusively in Spanish in which there is genuine comprehension of Spanish and enthusiastic participation of the children. For those who remember their foreign language experience as somewhat frustrating, let me assure you that you would be as impressed as I by how much all of the children, including those in kindergarten, know and are able to do.
For those questioning the relevance of the program and whether or not it takes away from other subjects, let me simply say that we know from research that learning is accelerated in other subjects as well. When the foreign language is used to teach what other teachers are teaching in English, reinforcement is the obvious outcome.
This very important point has been reaffirmed to me by teachers in whose classes Spanish is being taught. For example, not only can kindergarten children add and subtract in both languages, the teachers indicate that their students are not able to do these things earlier in the school year than when math was being taught only in English.
At a time when it is common to hear more criticism then praise, it is a pleasure to be able to recognize a program that is doing an outstanding job.
Robert A. Flannigan, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Spanish
Augusta State University
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