The Tustin Unified School District offers a Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program for transitional kindergarten (TK), kindergarten, first-, second- , third- and fourth-grade students at Jeane Thorman Elementary School. These children receive a diverse, enriching learning experience because they learn to think, read, write, and communicate in two languages. By learning how to do all of these things in two languages at such a young age, students in this program at Veeh Elementary will naturally pick up both languages and find use in them throughout their lifetime. The element of language is an important and valuable skill to grow so that these students can communicate with larger amounts of people, creating more opportunities in the future. Children in this program learn a wide range of subjects and broaden their knowledge in two languages, enabling them to be academically successful in more ways than one.
These dual immersion classes include students who are both native speakers in English and Spanish. This allows for students to work together and learn to pick up both languages naturally. Dual language programs also expand students’ knowledge and understanding of both cultures. They also build an appreciation and respect for other languages and cultures as well because their peers come from diverse backgrounds.
Students in this program develop a greater knowledge of how language works as well as an understanding of how the two languages can sometimes connect. It has been shown that forming an understanding of how language works is very beneficial in reading acquisition in young children. Research has shown that dual language programs also work towards closing the achievement gap for English language learners. This helps these students to achieve greater academic success in the future, such as improved standardized test scores.
These children work towards bilingualism and biliteracy, learning essential skills in both languages such as spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and word discrimination. In addition, research has shown that bilinguals excel more in areas of divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem-solving than monolinguals do. Dual immersion programs strive to develop greater communication and problem-solving skills in its students, as well as promoting a greater awareness of self and others.
Placing your child in dual immersion classes will not compromise their knowledge of their native language. These classes do not replace one language with another for your child, but rather give the students an opportunity to build and maintain their native language while acquiring a second language. Dual immersion allows students to build cognitive skills in both languages and expand their breadth of knowledge. Even though these classes are taught in English and Spanish, the content does not differ between the languages, but rather the delivery of the information is altered.