If you've been reading along, this is Lenguaje Dual Domingo, where I share our journey in Spanish immersion and dual language learning. Earlier, I discussed how we got started and why I wanted to share our experience. My twins are now in the First Grade and today, I wanted to share our Kindergarten year: what we learned, how they progressed, the cultural effect, and how the year ended.
It's been nice to sit and reflect on the twins' kindergarten year of the dual language program. I always intended on sharing our experience, so I've had lots of little notes on my phone/iPad to look at.
Kinder started off better than I expected. With close to no Spanish being spoken in the house, we told the twins that they are going to a class where they will learn Spanish, and that they may not understand what the teacher is saying, but to pay attention to what she is doing. They really just didn't know anything different. And we were very fortunate that they never expressed that they didn't want to be in the class or learning Spanish.
The twins learned about letrás, alphabet sounds, phonetics, palabras, numeros and lots more, exactly what any other Kindergartner would learn, just in Spanish. The first point of reference we had was a parent teacher conference, 2 months into the Kinder year, where the kids are tested as a natural Spanish speakers. The results were that they were at the "expected" level at their grade, as a natural Spanish speaker, which was amazing to hear!
It was quite a moment of relief, because 5 year olds can only tell you so much of what they learned during the day. And even if they understand in Spanish, sometimes translating that back to English to explain is not the easiest thing.
As far as their progression, I have boy-girl twins, in the same dual language class, each on seperate learning path. It is the nature/nurture debate, right before our eyes, because all though they have always been in the same preschool and elementary school environment, have the same home environment, same bedtime books read to them, they are different. They learn differently. Their progression is different.
For my daughter, phonetics, putting sílabas together to make words comes a bit easier. She loves writing and has such a desire to figure out how to write something, it helps her when she is sounding out words.
My son thinks differently. He is not to interested in the steps that it takes to get to read, but when it clicks, he is so excited!
But for both, months into starting school, I can remember them telling me that sometimes her brain is in Spanish, and would proudly tell their cousins that they knew Spanish and were in a Spanish class.
As a family, we expanded our cultura! We started new traditions and began celebrating Día de Los Muertos and los Reyes Magos.
The year ended on a great note! The twins met all the objectives necessary to move onto the First Grade! With the help of other parents, we formed a parent group to be a resource for each other, and hopefully to keep in touch with our classmates during the summer.
During the summer, the kids stayed home with my spouse, and attended some camps, but as that first day of First grade came, I had a few shoulda-woulda-couldas, know what I mean?
I'm going to share that in the next post, along with what I hope to do next summer.
Hope you enjoyed reading about our first year in the Dual Language Spanish immersion program as much as I have enjoyed sharing! Please share any questions you may have in the comments!