Norlina students learn second language before first grade

Posted July 30, 2013

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— Some kindergarten students in Warren County are getting a head start learning a foreign language.

Northside Elementary School near Norlina went through Chapel Hill-based VIF International Education to hire Velvet Gamero from Colombia to teach Spanish to kindergartners.

"When you are very young, it's easy for you to get a second language," Gamero said.

Seventeen school districts across North Carolina have similar language immersion programs in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, but they are usually larger districts, such as Wake County and Cumberland County.

"It's amazing just to see those students pick up that language and see them active (and) engaged," Northside Elementary Principal Shelia Washington said.

Kindergartners get head start on Spanish Kindergartners get head start on Spanish

So far, the students have spent only one week in the classroom. They learn what other kindergartners are taught, only their instruction is in Spanish.

"The kids who are in this kind of program outdo the other kids who are of the same age," parent Cicelia Aguilar said.

Northside Elementary will have two Spanish teachers for at least three years, and school administrators hope to teach the current students in Spanish through the fifth grade.

"When you can speak two or three languages, many doors will be opened for you," Gamero said.


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  • Krimson Jul 31, 2013

    IPay: "Where's the story that tells us how many NC kids (spanish speaking) are learning English."

    They're all learning in English. English, even at this Norlina school, is the predominant language used in NC schools. This article is about giving those particular students extra opportunities to learn a foreign language... Perhaps if you had had the same opportunity, you wouldn't have to transfer those calls???

  • IPayYouPay Jul 31, 2013

    I agree with Disabled Vet - What the heck? Are you kidding me?

    Where's the story that tells us how many NC kids (spanish speaking) are learning English. We at work have to transfer calls to the "spanish speaking" employee (who I might add is inundated with phone calls) - I could help a lot of callers if they would learn English.

  • DredScott Jul 31, 2013

    I can see Chinese but Spanish is not going to be that useful in business. French and German might be useful as well.


    There are a lot of business and investment opportunities in South America.

  • delta29alpha Jul 31, 2013

    I can see Chinese but Spanish is not going to be that useful in business. French and German might be useful as well.

  • Disabled Vet Jul 30, 2013

    Here's a thought, instead of teaching American children to speak Spanish, why not make the Spanish kids learn to speak English?

  • sunshine1040 Jul 30, 2013

    And this might have been news back in the 1970's. Several of my children were takin English and Spanish in 1st,2nd, and 3rd grade. And I am talking about public schools. But then since the did not use it they forgot it just as the did all the French they learned while living in France the 1st up to 3 years of their lives. No I am their stepmother but they were born to US citizens serving in the military and interacted with the French shopkeepers and house keepers now the only language they will admit to understanding is English

  • Relic Jul 30, 2013

    May as well learn Spanish and Chinese. Hispanic immigrants are still coming in, Mexican companies are starting to buy out US companies (Thank, NAFTA) using our own money and we already owe the Chinese several billion dollars and they're buying up the stuff in the US that the Japanese and Saudis are selling off. It's a great day in America....

  • normson7 Jul 30, 2013

    Oh no, a new target for the GOP. They really don't care for the "edumacation" stuff, makes for intelligent voters. Sure is great to see kids learning, though. I love to see that, good for them, the state, and our future.

  • medicine woman2 Jul 30, 2013

    But my family speaks German, what about us?

  • mrr03 Jul 30, 2013

    What an excellent program for the children. Please do not let the current GOP General Assembly members know about this program. Next thing you know they will call a special session to eliminate the the funds for this program. PEACE