Elementary students learning in English and in Spanish

Students at Fred Douglass Elementary in Jacksonville are being immersed in a new culture and new language. Depending on the day, and depending on the subject, they’ll either be learning in English or in Spanish. And for the kids, they’re picking up on it.

“What’s your favorite thing to do at recess? Yo jugar futbol. What does that mean? I like to play football.”

Hutton is just one example of hundreds of students who are learning a second language at such a young age.

These students are enrolled in the two-way dual language program, something that only a handful of schools in the whole region offer. This not only gives native Spanish speakers the chance to learn English but native English speakers will also be learning Spanish.

“The kids acquire, they don’t learn a language, they acquire a language,” Miss Lugo said. “And it’s easier for them. They are like sponges!”

Social studies and science are the two subjects these students learn in Spanish.

“At the same time they’re learning the content, like science and social studies, and the language, so they are developing both skills at the same time,” Miss Rodriguez said.

And for the kids, they seem to enjoy the experience.
“I like doing this, it’s like every single day I learn something new in Spanish.”

Principal Sherman says this will help them so much later in life but she’s also seeing the benefits now.

“There’s not this separation of English speakers over here and Spanish speakers over here, we’re all learning together in both languages,” Principal Sherman said. “We’re risk takers, we’re willing to start speaking that second language quicker.”

For the principal and the educators, they feel confident these kids will leave this campus better prepared thanks to this dual language program. 

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