Spanish Immersion

Growing in Understanding

We offer a unique Spanish Immersion Program at the Locust Grove Campus. This program — focused for English-speaking students beginning in kindergarten — equips them to read, write, and speak in the Spanish language.

Spanish Immersion students will meet all academic standards of Lancaster Mennonite School while becoming proficient in the Spanish language and developing cultural understanding. This program will prepare students to be lifelong learners who are transformed through Christ to change our world.

As a missional center for the church, our vision includes the belief that learning another language and culture is crucial to being a missional church both locally and globally. Through language and culture we are able to join God at work bringing healing and hope to the world that God loves.

Why Immersion?

Immersion programs are the fastest growing and most effective type of ​world language instruction currently available. The goal of language immersion is for students to become proficient in another language while developing increased cultural awareness.

Students develop proficiency in another language by ​using it to learn content rather than by​ only​ studying the language itself.

What does it offer?

​The immersion program begins in kindergarten and will eventually continue through high school. In K-5th, all content instruction is in Spanish. In 3rd-5th students have a daily English class that focuses on strengthening writing and spelling. In 6th-8th students switch to the maintenance phase and have two daily classes in Spanish and the rest in English. In high school, a yearly elective will be offered for immersion and heritage speakers. The program culminates with AP Spanish. Students that remain in the program can expect to attain fluency in Spanish.

What about English?

Reading instruction in English is to be done in the home. There will be no direct English literacy instruction in K-2nd. Parents should recognize that there may be an initial delay in acquiring English literacy. Also, parents need to understand that they are responsible for developing their child’s English literacy through direct practice at home by reading to their child and having their child read to them. By fifth grade most immersion students perform as well as — or better — than their English-only peers. It is important for parents to expect and accept a short-term lag in order to achieve the long-term benefit of dual literacy.

Start Young

The young child’s brain is developmentally ready to learn language. There is a window of opportunity in which the brain is most receptive to new language acquisition, which allows children to learn another language much like they learned their first. Most children become highly proficient in their new language, typically far better than those who begin to learn a new language later in life.

Curriculum

The Spanish Immersion Program will follow the LM curriculum except that classroom instruction will be in Spanish. Teachers work hard to make the Spanish comprehensible, even for beginning students. In the early grades this includes the use of songs, useful phrases, chants and rhymes, and carefully structured days with familiar routines. As students progress in the program and their comprehension improves, less supports are needed. In the first two years of the program, students may communicate with the teacher and each other in English, but are encouraged to use Spanish. After these initial two years, students are required to use Spanish. Classroom decorations and learning tools are all in Spanish as well. Specials in music, art and physical education will be taught in English.

Parents' Role

Families are asked to make a long-term commitment to the Spanish Immersion Program. A long-term commitment is necessary for the child to experience the ​full ​benefits of the program.​ Also, ​like all parents, parents of children in the Spanish Immersion Program must provide experiences that help their child develop English language skills, including reading to their children in English and having their children read to them in English.

Expectations for Parents

  • Be informed about the immersion program
  • ​P​romote language learning in your child​
  • ​Read daily in English with your child
  • ​Ensure your child attends school regularly
  • ​Provide experiences to enrich Spanish skills and culture

Register for Spanish Immersion

Parents who are interested in enrolling their children should complete a Commitment Form to reserve a place in the program. Enrollment will not be considered complete until the school’s regular application form is completed, submitted and accepted, along with a $100 registration fee.