Question: My 5-year-old daughter speaks Spanish and English, as my husband and I are bilingual and speak both languages to her. When she starts school in the fall, we want her to learn both in Spanish and English. How can we help her receive a bilingual education?
Answer: It’s wonderful that you want your daughter to continue growing up bilingual. In a world of increased globalization, knowing multiple languages is not only a valuable business skill, but also one that reduces limitations for your daughter and gives her the opportunity for greater cultural experiences.
The best option for ensuring your daughter receives a bilingual education is to enroll her in a dual language bilingual education school. These schools teach both English and another language through all grades and subjects, which will solidify her fluency in both languages.
Another option is to choose a school that offers Spanish classes at the elementary level. Since she already speaks the language a bit, she may be able to test out of the introductory course and begin at a more advanced level.
If these programs are not available in your area, you may need to supplement her bilingual education outside of traditional school time. Here are some simple ways to do that:
From formal education to reading exercises, there are many ways to give your daughter a bilingual education. Soon she will be ready for a third language!
For more information on dual language bilingual education, or to learn about transitional bilingual education, please refer to Through Elementary and Middle School, the second book in the YOU: Your Child's First Teacher book series.
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