Thanks to the launch of the Governor’s World Language Expansion Initiative, kindergarteners in three Delaware schools (one in each county) will begin an elementary language immersion program in either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. Children in Asia and Europe typically begin learning additional languages as early as 5 years old.
“World language capacity is crucial for Delaware to maintain and strengthen our state’s economy,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “Delaware graduates who enter the job market able to speak a language other than English will be at a significant advantage in today’s global marketplace. We want students in Delaware to have the challenge and the opportunity to learn another language before they reach high school.”
Delaware’s program will include 50 percent instruction in the world language and 50 percent in English. Classes will have two teachers – one for each language. Students will learn the second language by encountering and using the language in multiple meaningful contexts. The focus is on proficiency in using the language, not on isolated grammar.
Each school saw a great demand for the limited number of seats in the first year of the program. “Our students and parents have embraced this opportunity because they know how important it is for our children to learn a world language and to start doing so as early as possible,” Caesar Rodney Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald said.
Thanks to Gov. Jack Markell’s annual investment of $1.9 million, the program targets to reach nearly 8,000 students in K-8 immersion programs by 2020.
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