More Toddlers Enrolling In Language Immersion | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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."

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Sept. 30

An artist plays with symbols in a series of paintings. Art sheds light on Palestine and its people in an upcoming festival.
NPR

Millennial Jews Do An About-Face, Start Keeping Kosher

According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, nearly a fourth of millennial Jews are keeping kosher. That's almost twice the rate of their baby-boomer parents.
NPR

Napolitano: ISIS Was One Of Many Similar Threats We Were Tracking

The former homeland security secretary and Arizona governor also talks about security improvements since the Sept. 11 attacks and the frustrations and potential solutions to the immigration debate.
NPR

Kids And Screen Time: Cutting Through The Static

One Los Angeles school is working technology into the learning process while avoiding traditional screen-time pitfalls.

Leave a Comment

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