Curriculum and Instruction » Spanish Immersion

Spanish Immersion

Seaford offers a world-class bilingual experience for young learners at the critical point in their cognitive development that is perfect for language acquisition.  We invite you to come and experience bringing the world to our classrooms at Blades Elementary and West Seaford Elementary Schools.

The Vision:

The Seaford School District will advance all students linguistically and culturally, beginning at the earliest ages, to participate in a global community through effective communication, acceptance of new ideas, and by developing an international perspective. 

All students, with home and school support, will attain high levels of proficiency in multiple languages while maintaining their native language. 

Through their communication and actions, every staff member and student will demonstrate equal value of all languages and cultures.

Did you know that Spanish is the official language of 20 countries? Or, that there are approximately 440 million Spanish speakers worldwide? Knowing Spanish is an important skill to be ready for the 21st century. It is the second most spoken language in the United States and, according to a recent Bloomberg report, the fourth most important international business language after English. 

Immersion education is the most effective way to learn another language. In addition to developing oral proficiency in the language, students become biliterate as they simultaneously learn to read and write in Spanish along with English. Students are taught by certified elementary teachers that have advanced-superior levels of proficiency in Spanish. As students progress throughout the program, students develop multicultural awareness and cultural skills that will benefit them throughout their lifetime!

 Highlights of the Seaford School District Dual Language Immersion program:

  • Children benefit from the instruction of two classroom teachers—one who will teach them for half of the day in English and the other for half of the day in the targeted immersion language.
  • We are in the second year of the program’s implementation; the Elementary Immersion program supports 100 children in Kindergarten and 100 children in 1st grade.  Each year, this program will extend to the next grade level.
  • The program is supported by the Delaware Department of Education.  Students completing the scope and sequence of the Immersion program will be fully bilingual and bi-literate. 
  • The Immersion-language teacher teaches Language Arts for the targeted immersion language, mathematics, science and social studies curriculum. 
  • The English-speaking teacher teaches English Language Arts as well as supporting science, and social studies, and select elements of mathematics. 
  • World Language Immersion students are provided the same standards-based curriculum in all content areas that non-immersion students would receive in any other elementary classroom.

Delaware and Languages

World language capacity is crucial to Delaware in order for the state to maintain and strengthen its domestic economy. Governor Jack Markell has spoken publicly about the importance of young Delawareans learning a world language, saying that Delaware graduates who enter the job market without the ability to speak a world language other than English are at a significant disadvantage.  The Governor's World Language Expansion Initiative proposes an aggressive world language education plan that prepares Delaware students with the language skills to compete in an ever-changing global economy at home and around the world. In essence, Delaware will begin to graduate globally-competent students with advanced-level proficiency in languages, giving them an economic advantage in the multilingual and multicultural workforce of the 21st century. A part of this initiative involves beginning immersion programs in kindergarten in elementary schools across the state.

Why Immersion?

More than forty years of research consistently documents the power of immersion education to help students attain high levels of world language proficiency.  No other type of instruction, short of living in a non-English-speaking environment, is as successful.  

Delaware Immersion Model
World Language Immersion Programs offer a robust bilingual experience for young learners at the point in their cognitive development that is perfect for the acquisition of a new language.  Students benefit from the instruction of two highly-qualified classroom teachers—one who will teach them for half of the day in English and the other for half of the day in the immersion language.

The English-speaking teacher will teach English Language Arts as well as select elements of science and social studies from the Delaware Recommended Curriculum and select elements of mathematics from the Common Core State Standards.  The Immersion-language teacher will teach Language Arts for the immersion language, mathematics based on the Common Core State Standards, science and portions of the social studies curriculum.  World Language Immersion students follow the same standards-based curriculum in all content areas that non-immersion students would follow in any other Delaware elementary classroom.

Want to learn more about the Delaware World Language Expansion Initiative?  http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/staff/ci/content_areas/wl_immersion.shtml

Proven Advantages

  • World Language Proficiency - Students achieve high levels of world language proficiency in the immersion language.  By enrolling in a Delaware World Language Immersion program, students are on a pathway to read, write, speak, and listen in another language
  • Improved Test Performance- Research shows that immersion students perform as well or better than their non-immersion peers on standardized tests of English and mathematics, even when these assessments are delivered in English.
  • Enhanced Cognitive Skills- Immersion students develop greater cognitive flexibility, demonstrating increased attention control, better memory and superior problem-solving skills, as well as an enhanced understanding of their first language.
  • Increased Cultural Sensitivity- Immersion students are much more aware of and show a more positive attitude towards different cultures and an appreciation of people who have different cultural perspectives and practices.  
  • Long-Term Benefits- Immersion students are better prepared for the global community and job markets where world language skills provide them with an economic advantage.  

Benefits of Dual Language Immersion

Dual Language Immersion programs have proven effective for a wide variety of students. Research studies indicate that the achievement of high levels of functional proficiency in a second language associated with Dual Language instruction yields the following benefits for all students:

  • Enhanced levels of meta-linguistic awareness (i.e., knowledge of how language works) which has proven to be important to reading acquisition.
  • Improved performance versus monolingual students on tasks that call for divergent thinking, pattern recognition and problem solving.
  • Additional knowledge and understanding of one’s native language.
  • Greater understanding, tolerance, appreciation and respect for other languages and cultures.
  • Ability to communicate with other ethnic and cultural groups.
  • Ability to take advantage of opportunities that are available only in other languages.
  • Enhanced employment opportunities once school is completed.

Top 10 Reasons for Enrolling in an Immersion Program

  • To acquire a second language
  • To have a greater capacity for listening
  • To think more creatively and analytically
  • To develop better communication skills
  • To express enthusiasm and have an aptitude for problem solving
  • To have a greater awareness of self and others
  • To gain insights into other cultures
  • To unify staff and students in creating a shared linguistic community
  • To provide access to a greater part of the world
  • To take advantage of the optimal time to learn a language and develop an appreciation and understanding of diverse cultures, peoples, and perspectives in the world

TED Talk: the benefits of a bilingual brain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMmOLN5zBLY&feature=youtu.be

Learning a second language is great for traveling and getting a better paying job, but it can also make your brain healthier.

This video from the TED ED YouTube channel explains the different type of multilingual speakers and how speaking multiple languages helps your brain stay healthy. Generally, the earlier a child can start learning a language, the better, but even adults who learn a second language can benefit from it. Your brain can show more activity and a higher density of gray matter that contains your brains neurons and synapses. It’s also possible that knowing and speaking a second language on a regular basis can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Essentially, speaking a second language gives your brain a workout that can help make it healthier in the long run. Considering that learning a second language might also make you more money, there’s no reason not to consider it.

For more information about dual immersion education, please visit the following websites:

The Center for Applied Linguistics: 

http://www.cal.org:80/twi/

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA):
http://www.carla.umn.edu/index.html

Supervisor of Instruction
Mrs. Kelly Hageman
390 North Market Street, Ext.
Seaford, DE 19973
khageman@seaford.k12.de.us (302)629-4587 Ext. 1650


Administrative Assistant
Mrs. Tracey L. Gray
390 North Market Street, Ext.
Seaford, DE 19973
tgray@seaford.k12.de.us (302)629-4587 Ext. 1640