WAMU 88.5 : News

More Toddlers Enrolling In Language Immersion

Play associated audio
A Language Stars Mandarin class in Reston.
Courtney Collins
A Language Stars Mandarin class in Reston.

For the 90 minutes that five- to eight-year-olds take their French class at Language Stars, their instructor will never speak English. Same goes for the three- to five-year-olds taking Spanish.

Regional Director of Language Stars Joe Trsar says a summer at his school isn’t so different from camp.

“One of our philosophies is fun with a purpose," he says. "So we are play based activities, art projects, snack time, relay races.”

The big difference is all those activities will be conducted in French, Spanish or Mandarin.

Language Stars opened offices in Reston and Alexandria last fall, and will add locations in Ashburn and Bethesda this summer. The group starts teaching foreign languages to children as soon as they turn one year old.

"The norm of, say, starting in 7th grade is too late," says Trsar. "It's past that window of opportunity where the children can learn through being immersed in the language and playing in the language."

That's why language schools are seeing increasing demand for intensive summer immersion programs. CommuniKids, a language school based in D.C. and Falls Church, has been around for five years, but saw a dramatic uptick in interest for their summer immersion program this year.

Co-founder Raul Echevarria says he thinks parents want the exposure their children get to a foreign language during the school year to take root with total immersion during the summer.

As global competition increases and children move to this country and learn English as a second language, Trsar says, being multi-lingual becomes more necessary.

"Thirty years from now, the average person will have a bachelors degree, maybe even a masters degree that might not set you apart," he says. "So what's going to set you apart, its going to be those unique characteristics like speaking two, three, four languages."

NPR

Lisa Lucas Takes The Reins At The National Book Foundation

Lucas is the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which runs the National Book Awards. Her priority? Inclusivity: "Everyone is either a reader or a potential reader," she says.
NPR

The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.
WAMU 88.5

The Latest on the Military, Political and Humanitarian Crises in Syria

Russia continues airstrikes in Syria. Secretary Kerry meets with world leaders in an attempt to resolve the country’s five-year civil war. A panel joins Diane to discuss the latest on the military, political and humanitarian crises facing Syria.

NPR

Should India's Internet Be Free Of Charge, Or Free Of Control?

Facebook's free Internet service was banned in India on the basis of net neutrality this week. Internet providers, regulators say, should not be allowed "to shape the users' Internet experience."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.