New Comer to US, Which Class Should join--Enrichment Program English or STEM

Updated on June 22, 2016
C.C. asks from New York, NY
11 answers

Dear Moms,
We are new comer to New York for 2 months and my son is in forth grade here. His English is at very basic level and could only write very simple sentences.and speak a few. Now his school provide us a good chance to enhance his English. It is an Enrichment Program for English for English Languages Learners next month. However there is also a good STEM Summer Class at the same time. My son is interesting in the STEM class--however he has not attended it before in USA. I am worried that he could not understand the words of teachers. Maybe he should join in the English program to improve his English? I am confused and worried and wish to hear your Suggestions, esp for mummies who has kids to join in the above mentions classes!
Thank you so much!

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So What Happened?

I visited AZ in 2013 and now moved to NYC this May.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

First things first. Learn the language and become fluent in it. Take more classes when he can fully understand the materials.

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answers from Boston on

Welcome to New York (or Arizona, as your profile states) and also to Mamapedia.

I would do the English program for sure. I would do anything else that your time and finances permit -
- go to local children's or science museums (have him read the descriptions on the exhibits, attend the short educational programs they offer, talk to other kids)
- go to the park, the beach, the pool, the neighborhood basketball court, etc. and let him play with local kids
- go to the children's library and take out books. Read together, out loud, to help with vocabulary and sentence structure. Listen in on story hours even if most of the kids are younger than your son.
- read the Sunday newspaper comics section
- watch children's TV
- get a workbook at any teacher supply store, and hire a high school student who gets good grades in English to help tutor your child and correct his written and spoken work.

Save the STEM program for next year. It doesn't make sense to spend money on it now. Instead, take your child to the science museum and let him play/observe/learn there.

Good luck!

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answers from Boston on

C., welcome! English is my first language so I haven't had your son's experience but I think the opportunity to immerse him in as much English instruction as possible as soon as possible is a good idea and will help him with school and social life. Kids learn languages so quickly at this age that it won't take him long to get up to speed and then he can take other enrichment classes after. There will be plenty of opportunities to take STEM classes during the school year and summer in the future, but the younger he is and sooner he masters English, the better. One of my sons has a good friend who came to the US from Brazil in the middle of 2nd grade. She knew no English at all and our schools don't have any English language instruction support but it was amazing to see that by a few months she knew enough to be able to play at other kids' houses and was pretty fluent by the end of the school year. I would really push language first and then other enrichment opportunities after. Best wishes to you!

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answers from Santa Fe on

What language does your son speak? I'm in the sciences and when you collaborate with other scientists from other countries you often need to work with someone who speaks a different language. I have found that for many scientific words they are similar in different languages...but it depends if your language is latin based like English is. If you can afford it I think I would have him try the STEM class as well as the Enrichment Program.

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answers from Atlanta on

I think the English Language Enrichment program would be your best bet at this point. I am sure he thinks that the STEM program sounds more interesting, however he will get more out of it when his English is stronger. I doubt he will be able to keep up well if he only writes and speaks a bit. As for whether he will be bored, I am confident that the English Language Enrichment program teachers will have the kids do a variety of activities, not just sit at desks and do exercises or worksheets. Assuming that the instructor/s are trained teachers, they will know to make it fun and active. He also will probably make some new friends, many of whom might not speak the same language as him AND who share the experience of learning to live in a different country. Those friendships could be invaluable. It's great you are thinking about resources which can make the adjustment easier!

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answers from Washington DC on

The English Enrichment class at first for sure. I have two kids in the STEM program and it is VERY fast paced and advanced. If he can get his language skills up more, it sounds like he would do well in STEM.

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answers from New York on

I say have him brush up on the English so he can enjoy the STEM class when it comes around next.

I don't know where in NY you are but I have a 4th grader in STEM in NY and he isn't THAT impressed with it. Just being honest.

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answers from St. Louis on

Has he learned Latin? I learned Latin fairly young and it made most other languages easy.

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answers from Philadelphia on

The Enrichment/English Language Learners program(s) sounds like a great start. Don't worry. You're already on the right track. You've found great resources and great opportunities.

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answers from Wausau on

If he does not understand much English yet, then go for the Enrichment Program first. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would recommend putting him in the English class. There will be plenty of opportunities to take STEM classes later, but he should improve his English over the summer. Fourth grade is a lot more intense than third grade, so he will be reading harder books, writing more papers, and will need to have good reading comprehension. I think he will do much better in school if he takes the language class this summer. It will also be easier for him to make friends if he is comfortable speaking the language.

STEM is rapidly growing and has new opportunities coming up all the time. He can probably find one to take during the school year. If not, I'm sure there will one next summer that he can take.

1 mom found this helpful
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