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Spanish Immersion

Imagine your child having the ability to speak more than just one language! While the United States lags behind other countries in teaching this invaluable skill, Redlands Christian School is at the forefront of immersion-based language instruction. This program is a unique option for students who want to become proficient in Spanish. One hundred percent of the grade-level content that is taught within the classroom is in Spanish. Once students reach 3rd grade, they receive some English instruction within the classroom.

Research indicates that learning a second language at an early age allows for greater native language competency and academic success. The goal of the immersion program is to produce bilingual students who are high academic achievers, proficient in Spanish, and both knowledgeable and appreciative of other Spanish-speaking cultures. An additional goal of the program at RCS is to see students develop their ability to share and receive Christ-like love with and from speakers of other languages.

We are committed to immersion at Redlands Christian School. As immersion students grow up and move onto a new grade, our program will grow with it.

Immersion Program Overview

Grade Levels

Jr. Kindergarten 3-Day and/or 5-Day (depending on demand)
Full Day Kindergarten
1st Grade (last entry point for new non-immersion students)
2nd – 6th Grades (only available to students with immersion experience)

Why 100% - The Total One-Way Model

Given that each child is in a culture where the majority language is English, and most children at RCS come from an English-speaking home, it is imperative that they are fully immersed in Spanish from the onset.

The Immersion Classroom

Students become bilingual by learning the subject content in Spanish. All instruction, discussion, and social interaction is in Spanish, 100% of the time. The first English instruction is taught in 3rd grade. The model of the program is referred to as an early total one-way immersion program and is considered dual-language immersion.

The Language Arts curriculum is different for Spanish Immersion. Since literacy is taught in the immersion language, students receive explicit grammar instruction. The frameworks we use for our explicit grammar instruction come from add.a.lingua. The experts at add.a.lingua provide professional development and support and assist with implementation of the research-based immersion model. The three-fold goal of the immersion program is to: Expect language, Empower students, and Embrace culture.

When English is Introduced

From the start, 100% of the language spoken by the teacher inside the classroom will be Spanish. Art, Music, PE and recess will remain in English. Beginning in 3rd grade, students will receive some English-specific instruction, totaling only around 3 hours a week. This English-specific instruction focuses on some differences between English and Spanish grammar.

How the Immersion Program Grows

As the students move to a new grade level, a new immersion classroom is readied. Once ready for middle school, immersion students will be merged with their non-immersion peers for much of the class time. To continue progressing in Spanish, students will receive about half of their coursework in Spanish.

Immersion FAQs

How will learning everything in Spanish affect my child's English literacy?

At the onset, many parents are afraid that immersion will have a negative effect on their child’s ability to learn or develop their English-language skills. Research consistently shows that an immersion experience stimulates English-language development. It should be noted that the full immersion students’ English development may lag temporarily in reading, spelling, and vocabulary while they are exclusively in immersion. However, after a few months and up to a year or two of instruction, this discrepancy disappears. It is important for parents to understand that this lag is temporary and is to be expected. In addition, in language acquisition, each child’s communicative skills range and progress uniquely to the individual; their receptive skills (listening and reading) typically develop before their productive skills (writing and speaking). Parents have a responsibility to provide their children with experiences that will enhance their English language and development and should read to their child (in English) each day.

Why does the program model at RCS insist on teaching students to learn to read and write in Spanish before English?

Most children growing up in homes in which at least one parent is a native English-speaker acquire English syntax (structure/grammar) and basic vocabulary through interaction with caregivers, relatives, and media by the time they are of school age. Because of time spent in the English language outside of school, the classroom can then become the environment in which immersion students expand their Spanish vocabulary and acquire Spanish syntax. Interactive classroom read-alouds and guided reading groups allow immersion students to add to vocabulary they have already acquired by listening and responding to their immersion teachers during class time.

Additionally, reading skills such as learning to scan sentences from left to right, decoding or deciphering meaning from context or pictures, looking for semantic clues, are all transferable” between many languages. Students who learn to read first in Spanish transfer those same skills to English and are ultimately able to then attain grade-level reading competency in two languages rather than just one. Already starting in our Jr. K immersion classroom, students learn letter sounds in Spanish and understand syllables. They may even begin forming words. They are formally taught to read in Spanish in the immersion program. Because English and Spanish share similar features (reading from left to right, many letters share sounds, the alphabet is similar, etc.) some students will learn to read in both languages simultaneously. Other students might be reading in English before stepping foot in their classroom or might begin reading in English first, even though they are in an immersion setting. Either way, the transition between reading in one language or another is smooth.

I speak zero (or little) Spanish. How can I support my child at home?

The most important thing you can do is to read to your child in English. This does NOT mean that you teach your child to read in English. If you can commit to reading to them in English and exposing them to English in a variety of social settings, you can trust the immersion model and that your child will read at or above grade level in the immersion language and in English. In addition, immersion teachers are cognizant in making sure the work they send home is clear and, if needed, parents are given ideas of what they can do to support their child.

Other Details

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