At La Scuola children learn to speak a second language in a nurturing and fun environment, often unaware of their bilingual superpowers!
Early exposure to a second language enables more neural connections to form in a child’s brain, actually improving language skills in the first language. Our students are bilingual (many are trilingual) and as a result, have better control over their attention, decision making, and planning than students who learn in one language. Bilingualism is well known to be a strong predictor of academic success and lifelong happiness and Italian especially benefits students with an understanding of Latin roots and an increased ability to appreciate art, music, and history.
Statistically, children who study a second language score higher on verbal standardized tests conducted in English, perform better in math and logic skills testing, and are better at solving complex problems. At La Scuola, our language immersion begins with Italian, and we have expanded our offerings to include Spanish starting in 4th grade. Teachers differentiate language instruction according to student ability.
Many of our graduates have continued their language studies in high school; in some cases taking on the study of yet another language.
Children are not required to speak Italian to enroll in preschool, Kindergarten or 1st Grade. Students applying to 2nd through 5th grade are evaluated for language proficiency as part of the admissions process in order to determine placement. For grades 6-8, both Italian and Spanish classes are differentiated according to proficiency- beginner or advanced.
La Scuola Daily Rituals - Alive with Italian Culture!
At La Scuola, we embrace the Italian culture at school with daily rituals like our family-style hot lunch and teaching students to play folk songs on the Mandola. We celebrate holidays like Carnevale as well as other cultural holidays celebrated within our community, such as Hanukkah, Dawali, and Solstice. Our Italian DNA pervades our daily interactions: there is always time for a little more music, a little more art, a hug and time to appreciate the beauty of life and time spent together.
The Hundred Languages of Children
As we see from the Reggio Emilia Approach, children inherently have many languages they can communicate through and express themselves with. With the language immersion and practicing a second language, we help children discover this natural multi-lingualism they have within themselves.
Based on evidence-based immersion models, here are the percentages of how languages are used through the grades.
Preschool: approximately 100% Italian
Grades K-1: approximately 20% English – 80% Italian
Grade 2: approximately 30% English – 70% Italian
Grades 3-5: approximately 50% English – 50% Italian
Grades 6-8: approximately 70% English – 30% Italian
Preschool 1:6 or 1:8 Teacher to Child ratio
*Language percentages do not include Atelier subjects.
Children are not required to speak Italian to enroll in preschool, Kindergarten or 1st Grade. Students applying to 2nd through 8th grade are evaluated for language proficiency as part of the admissions process.
Language Immersion Research
Below is Dr. Jim Cummins’ presentation about Bilingual Education.