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Language Immersion

Preschool group reading outside

At La Scuola children learn to speak an additional language in a nurturing and fun environment, often unaware of their multilingual superpowers!

Early exposure to additional languages enables more neural connections to form in a child’s brain, actually improving skills in their 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, history, and science.

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 Grade 4.  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.

Students are not required to speak Italian to enroll in preschool, Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 6. Students applying to Grades 2 to 5 as well as Grades 7 and 8 are evaluated on a case-by-case basis during the admissions process. For Grades 6-8, both Italian and Spanish classes are differentiated according to proficiency - beginner/intermediate or advanced.

La Scuola Daily Rituals - Alive with Italian Culture!

At La Scuola, we embrace the Italian culture with daily rituals like our family-style hot lunch and students participating in the string ensembles (orchestra pizzicato). We celebrate Italian holidays such as Carnevale, Dante Day. Our Italian DNA pervades our daily interactions: we always make time for a little more music, a little more art, a hug, and 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.

 

Montreal Model of Language Immersion

Based on evidence-based immersion models, here are the percentages of how languages are used through the grades.

  • Preschool:     approximately 10% English – 90% 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

*Specialist subjects may be taught in English or Italian.

Students are not required to speak Italian to enroll in preschool, Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 6. Students applying to Grades 2 to 5 as well as Grades 7 and 8 are evaluated on a case-by-case basis during the admissions process. For Grades 6-8, both Italian and Spanish classes are differentiated according to proficiency - beginner/intermediate or advanced.

Language Immersion Research

Below is Dr. Jim Cummins’ presentation about Bilingual Education.
Bilingual Education Challenges and Possibilities from La Scuola Slideshare.

Read more about the benefits of Bilingualism on the Growing Up Bilingual website.