Why Attend Horace Mann's Dual Language Program?
As parents investigate a dual language program, the question utmost in their minds is, "Why should I send my child to a dual language school?" The idea sounds intriguing--having a child able to speak both English and Spanish--but there are so many other questions parents want to know about whether a dual language program works.
Does a dual language program work? Research has shown that people best learn a second language when they are young. Language development starts when a child is born into the home environment. As children hear language around them, the language components of their brains start developing language patterns and understandings that will later be used as building blocks for school learning.
Once students enter kindergarten, the focus turns to decoding, reading fluency, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension. This progression of increased language proficiency in both English and Spanish continues through their entire school years and into their adult years. Horace Mann students who learn both English and Spanish side by side starting in kindergarten are able to take full advantage of their emerging bilingual repertoire by being active participants in their learning in both languages.
Horace Mann’s English and Spanish two-way immersion model meets our students’ language development needs as they are taught reading in both English and Spanish beginning in kindergarten. Math is taught in the English language of instruction, while science and social studies is taught in Spanish. Regardless of what our students’ first language (L1) is, all students immediately begin learning a second language (L2) while simultaneously developing their first language. Students are generally excited to learn, readily absorb, and enjoy the challenge of a dual language education.
As students continue through their elementary years at Horace Mann, they use the vocabulary and reading fluency they learned in Kinder – 2nd grade (learning to read) to be successful on the state reading and math assessments (reading to learn). As emerging bilinguals, students gradually improve their bilingual and biliterate skills and use their second language (L2) more regularly and effectively to show mastery of their learning. As students move into the intermediate and middle school grades, the language proficiency gap between students’ L1 and L2 decreases over time and students reach higher levels of proficiency in both languages.
Horace Mann middle school allows students to stay connected to learning as they enter their adolescent years. They have already established a connection with the school as elementary students and build on those partnerships to form a meaningful middle school experience. Rather than starting a new middle school in these important formative years as they search for independence, Horace Mann middle school students become student leaders and role models to the elementary students as they assume leadership positions such as school proctors, reading mentors, or classroom helpers. Students also have the opportunity to join other clubs, athletics programs, STUCO, and BAASE.
Horace Mann’s K-8 program is connected from start to finish with a coherent progression of learning, clear academic expectations, and opportunities for built in enrichment along the way. The best way to see what Horace Mann is all about is to visit the classrooms to see the close, caring community that students, teachers, and parents work together to create. We would invite you to drop by to visit our school and see why, "It's a smaller world when you are bilingual!"