Local News

Pre-Kindergarten Students Get Early Jump On Learning Spanish

Posted April 22, 2002

— You may not be able to speak Spanish, but your children can now get an early start. A Spanish immersion daycare center, Mi Escuelita, is opening doors for native speakers as well as non-native speakers.

In the school's pre-kindergarten class, whether the kids are reciting nursery rhymes or learning to count, it is all done in Spanish. Every parent has a different reason for wanting their child to be here.

"My wife was born in Cuba and grew up in Mexico City, so she's completely bilingual," parent Merle Thorpe said.

Barb Hawk, on the other hand, wanted her daughter, Maya, to be in tune with her heritage.

"She's adopted from Guatemala and we always wanted her to be raised bilingually," she said.

For Cindy West, the decision came easy after a trip to Europe.

"Other people we interacted with -- German, Swiss, French, they all knew three and four languages, and we only knew one. It was embarassing. That's when we decided our children would be bilingual," West said.

Program director Sona Wiggins said the idea has caught on so quickly that there is already a waiting list of 40 kids.

There are several other pre-kindergarten immersion programs in the Chapel Hill and Carborro area. There are also discussions on beginning a Chinese immersion program as well.

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