I began searching for Spanish-speaking, immersion-type preschools/programs from the time Jaida was born. I took her to a program Musica Para Mi, when she was 9 months old. While I liked Musica Para Mi, there came a time when I wanted a program where I didn’t have to be present in the class. I came across Juguemos a Cantar. They too had a music program for young children, but what interested me the most was their extended playgroups. The playgroup met once or twice a week for 10 weeks. And best of all, it was a drop-off Spanish immersion class that lasted 1 ½ hours. They also had a preschool program where you can choose how many days your child would attend. So Jaida attended the extended playgroups once a week in the afternoon for 2 or 3 semesters.
When Jaida was around 2 years old, I received an email from Musica Para Mi announcing that a group of parents wanted to open a bilingual immersion school for English and Spanish or French. I went to their first meeting. With 3 babies now and no steady babysitting, I couldn’t commit to the group. But I would occasionally check on them to see how the school's opening was progressing.
For 3 years I set my sights on enrolling Jaida into that school by the time she reached kindergarten. I felt that Jaida and my other children needed more Spanish language exposure than I could give. I knew that the tuition would be hefty, but I felt we had time to plan, save, start a home-based business or something. Things didn't work out for Jaida to enroll.
Today the ISB has grown from just offering playgroups to a thriving school in a bigger and brighter location with 2nd grade added on. Again, things did not work out for Jaida to go. While I was disappointed for a time, I remembered that when things don't work out, my God has something even better in store (Ephesians 3:20.) That's why instead of being burnt about it, I’ve decided to buckle down and re-commit to teaching my children Spanish the best way that I know how with whatever resources and supplies I have at the moment.
All along my husband, James, insisted that we could teach them. But I wanted her to get into that school real bad. James helped me to keep my goal into perspective. Our goal is for our children to be bilingual, not to get them into that school.
My daughter just started kindergarten in public school. I’m so tickled because this is the school that I went to as well. I’ve asked the teacher’s aide to speak to my daughter in Spanish when she can. And, the class is taking French! Praise the Lord, my daughter is working on being trilingual!
Why go through all of this? What’s the benefit of spending so much time, effort, and money to teaching your child a second language?
The next time we meet, I’ll share with you some interesting findings about teaching your child another language and how those findings may be ringing true for my daughter.