Chautauqua to offer Spanish immersion kindergarten

The Vashon School District plans to offer a Spanish immersion kindergarten program beginning this fall.

Jody Metzger, principal of Chautauqua Elementary School, said that at a recent meeting for parents of incoming kindergartners, she heard positive feedback on her proposal to offer a full-day Spanish kindergarten program in place of a regular full-day class. This school year was the first in several years that the district was not able to offer full-day kindergarten because not enough families signed up for the class.

Now, Metzger said, Chau-tauqua will offer the Spanish immersion kindergarten program next fall as long as at least 14 tuition-paying families sign their children up for the class.

Four or five families have already signed their children up, Metzger said. If 14 tuition-paying families sign up by April 20, the district can hire a Spanish-speaking kindergarten teacher and offer partial scholarships for half a dozen more to be in the class.

Metzger said that since the meeting she has gotten calls from parents of children as young as 2 who say they are thrilled about the program and hope it takes off at Chautauqua.

“People are excited about it,” Metzger said. “I’m hopeful, very hopeful.”

Kindergartners in the im-mersion program would attend regular kindergarten taught in English in the morning then go to a Spanish immersion class taught by a Spanish-speaking teacher in the afternoon. Regular morning and afternoon kindergarten classes would still be offered.

In the Spanish class students would learn the language through games, cooking and cultural activities.

“It will be cultural in focus,” Metzger said.

If the class goes well, she added, the school district would like to explore the idea of continuing Spanish classes through other grade levels, possibly in immersion classes before or after school.

“I think it’s going to be a great experience for our children, and it will enrich our school,” Metzger said.


The deadline to sign up for the Spanish immersion kindergarten program or to request a scholarship for the class is April 20. Contact Chautauqua Elementary School at 463-2882.






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