Dual Language Program

Updated on May 31, 2009
S.P. asks from Keller, TX
10 answers

I am considering enrolling my five year old son in a dual language program in our school district. The program is in its second year.
My major concen is that my son may lag in academic areas as a result of the emphasis on spanish. My native language is spanish, so he has been exposed and therefore has more of a background in spaaish than others might.
Does anyone have experience with these programs? Can you offer advice on them? Have they seemed to work for you? Are my concerns legitimate? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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answers from Dallas on

I have my son in a dual language program and love it! I feel he learns more because he is not having to do all the "busy work" art projects, filler, etc. I plan on putting my daughter in it when she starts Kinder.

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answers from Dallas on

I just wanted to let you know that the dual langaguae is approach is fantastic. Is the school district Kennedale? One of my very good friends is the English side of the dual langague at one of the schools. It's an amazing program and I wish my children had that opprotunity.



answers from Dallas on

I would love for my kids to have this opportunity! PISD does not offer it...yet. I've done extensive research on the subject and found nothing but positive outcomes. I speak Spanish as a 2nd language and my education was all as a "subject" not a natural setting (except when I lived in Mexico). I truly believe that my fluency would be much better if I'd had the dual-language setting.

Many programs continue to teach math in the child's native language, FYI.



answers from Abilene on

Three of my cousins went through one and all of these cousins are gifted and talented. I think the dual language program actually helped them to develop their gifted-ness even further. There is no dual language program in our area, but if there was I would absolutely enroll my children in it!



answers from Dallas on


Hi! Just wondering if that is the same as ESL program- because we just went to enroll our daughter for Kindergarten and since we speak some Spanish at home she needs to be tested i guess to see if she belongs in that ESL program?!. We live in Arlington, so i do not know if that is the same thing. However, i would love to have my daughter take advantage of the dual program if available. I have always heard that emphazing another language when they are young is very beneficial.



answers from Dallas on

Doing doctoral work on second language acquisition and MANY papers on dual language programs, there are VERY few cons and TONS of pros. I will be putting my sons in one for sure. HTH :)



answers from Dallas on

Dual Language programs teach both languages in the natural setting, across the academic subjects. You are very lucky for this opportunity. He will not lag in academics. He IS LEARNING the academics in 2 languages. WOW!!! what an opportunity.



answers from Dallas on

Hi S.,

Both of my kids are in a dual language program in the Irving ISD. I can't say enough about how thrilled I am with it. My son just finished Kindergarten and my daughter, 2nd grade. Our first language is English, my husband speaks some Spanish, but I speak none. I remember from the presentation I went to before we enrolled our daughter in the program that though the kids are taught everything in the younger grades, they may not get everything. But by 2nd and third grades, their learning curve sky rockets. By 5th grade, they are speaking, reading and writing fluently in both languages. They also have several specialists that help the kids work on the areas where they might be struggling.

My daugher is a blonde haired, blue eyed little 7 year old girl who speaks Spanish pretty well. Some of the native Spanish speaking parents from her class look surprised by how well her accent is when she speaks. I know she is not alone. I'm able to talk now to the kids that only spoke Spanish in Kinder. I think it is great that each teacher brings a different accent with them depending on where they are from. My daughter's 1st grade teacher is a native speaker where her Kinder teacher was not. She was a little nervous since her 1st grade teacher "speaks a lot faster" but she handled it well and adjusted accordingly.

Kinder and first grade, they switch back and forth between the two classes daily. They usually pair each child up with a buddy who's native language is the opposite. In second grade they do 2 day English and 2 days Spanish, 3rd grade 1 week each, etc. They gradually move them into speaking the second language as their skills grow. The English teachers speak only English and the Spanish teachers speak only Spanish to the students. My daughter looked surprised the first time she heard her Kinder Spanish teacher speak to me in English. She didn't know that she could! It was cute. In the younger grades, the kids are not expected to answer in their second language. They do have to concentrate quite a bit and can be very tired the first few months of the program, but end up adjusting well. Because they are emmersed in the two languages, it is natural for them to begin to understand. This is the best time for them to learn a second language! The younger grade levels teachers are very animated and the classes look the same except for the languages, so because the calendar (or colors, or alphabet cards, etc.) in their English class looks the same in Spanish, it helps them connect the dots. On the first day of school, the teacher's also send home a list of words that they will be using that we can work on them with at home (stuff like "sit down", "stand up", "eyes up here", "mouth closed", etc.) Basic communication.

During first grade, I was working in the kitchen and the window was open. The girl who lives next to us spoke only Spanish, she was getting ready to start Kindergarten in the fall. Anyway, I start hearing my daughter speak to our neighbor in Spanish and they continued to play speaking Spanish to eachother. She obviously had some problems communicating, but I was so proud of her for trying.

As for starting your son in 1st grade, I wouldn't be too concerned, especially if he has been exposed to it at home. There is a girl in my daughter's class who's native language is Vietnamese, second is English. No Spanish. She joined the program in 1st grade and is doing fine.

Today, my daughter does her Spanish homework in Spanish. I have no idea what it says :-), but she is getting good grades.

My son is doing well, too, and my daughter is helping him when she can. The school we go to is great, the teachers have been so helpful and I'm really glad that I put both my kids in it. As you can tell, I can talk and talk about the program. If you have any questions, I'd love to help you if I can.

Good luck!

P.S. We are in Irving ISD.



answers from Dallas on

The emphasis on Spanish will stimulate brain growth in the language areas of the brain. This is a wonderful blessing to give your son. Whenever he tries to learn a language, this should a smoother process because those pathways were grown and strengthened as a young boy.

If your child does well academically, then he will continue to do so. Of course, there is nothing wrong with you making sure that the academics are being taught-but he is ONLY FIVE. Reading, writing, mathematics, physical fitness He is laying the foundation for those areas now also.

I would JUMP at the chance, it truly a once-in-a lifetime opportunty.



answers from Tyler on

I am also of Hispanic origen and I have twins who are now 15 years old. Both of my kids were enrolled in the Dual Language program in elementary school up to 5th grade. First, in Kinder they were tested to see if they had a strong English background by a diagnostician. English is our first language at home.
I loved the fact that kids were mixed with kids that did not spoke a word of English and kids that did not spoke a word of Spanish (or very little of one).
In our small district the dual students were kept together 'til they were in 5th grade and I got to know them and I got a pretty good idea on how these kids are doing academically today, and it is outstanding!
Most of the kids that took part in the dual program are now highschoolers taking the Pre-AP and AP classes. Education is a combination of good teachers and involved parents. The learning of a second language is always a plus. In 9th grade my kids decided to learn sign language, it's wonderful! My twin daughter learned to read music and plays the piano on her own, and her twin brother is very creative, he draws and painting on canvas, they both have an overall good grasp of all subjects in high school.
I would encourage you to give the Dual Program a chance
but, it will also help if you talk to some local parents with kids in the Dual Program and their experience......


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