Today with bilingual education rising and New York developing as the capital of bilingualism in the United States, parents are looking at ways to distinguish an effective dual language program.
Dominique Velociter, Head of School, Lyceum Kennedy International School, a French American School in Ardsley shares these important tips for parents looking to select a quality bilingual school.
1. Look for a school whose first impression is that of a community that fosters a caring and supportive environment, a place where students blossom naturally.
2. In a thriving bilingual school both language and cultures are equally valued and, as much as possible, information and signs are posted in both languages.
3. There is at least 50 percent of instruction in the second language, which needs to be sustained for at least six to eight years.
4. Internal and external systems are in place to reinforce literacy instruction and language arts and students become almost equally proficient in both languages by the end of the elementary grades.
5. The school leadership is critical for the effectiveness of the program, demonstrating expertise, advocating for its success and development, and facilitating relationships with the community.
6. There are ample material and resources in the classroom and plans to harmonize the curricula.
7. The teachers are native in the language they practice and experienced with immersion and dual education programs. Teachers are mentored and trained and given regularly opportunities to develop their skills. They show passion for multiculturalism and international education.
8. The school has hired second language specialist and ESL teachers to support the students.
9. Teachers who inspire students and create positive emotions are significant in any learning process, and perhaps even more in the context of a bilingual program, where they model the language and create various cultural experiences to their students.
10. There is a language component in any subject, all teachers are language teachers, providing a rich and fertile context in which students learn and grow every day.
11. Teachers work together and collaborate to the success of the students.
12. The relationship between the school and the families are also an important aspect of a positive and profitable education. Families and school share the school vision and are committed to multiculturalism and global learning. “It takes a village to raise a child”, the quote summarizes it all and seems a perfect fit for the collegial endeavor created by bilingual education.
– Dominique Velociter, Head of School, Lyceum Kennedy International School. lyceumkennedy.org.
For more information about bilingual education and children, be sure to read Bilingual Education: Is It Right For Your Children