Thursday, October 23, 2008
The Chapel Hill Carrboro School System has an incredible Dual Language, or Language Immersion, program for both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. The program began in 2002. My daughter started in the Spanish Program in Kindergarten and she just entered Middle School and is in the first Middle School Dual Language Program. It is very cool to have a 10 year old that is bilingual, especially since she comes from a family where her parents are not fluent in another language. It is the goal of this program that the children be both bilingual and biliterate.
It is also an incredible learning environment when your child can learn side by side with an equal amount of native speakers. In this program, the kids really work together and learn from each other.
The Spanish Program is at Carrboro Elementary and the Mandarin Chinese Program is at Glenwood Elementary. From the time the kids are in Kindergarten they spend 50% of their school day speaking in the target language. Throughout elementary school my daughter took math, science or language arts in Spanish. This was matched by an equal amount of time spent on these subjects speaking English.
The program has matured to the point where the first classes in both Spanish and Chinese have gradated to Middle School. The Spanish and Chinese Middle School Dual Language Programs are at McDougle Middle School. At the Middle School Level the kids have two classes that are 100% in the target language. These are the standard course of study for the 6th Grade Social Studies Curriculum and a Language and Cultural Arts Class. This of course is combined with the other classes in Math, Science and a second Language Arts that are taught in English.
To learn more about the Dual Language Program in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, NC, visit the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District site at: