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GH Christian School to add Spanish immersion class

Krystle Wagner • Feb 9, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Beginning next fall, a Grand Haven Christian School kindergarten class will have the chance to gain a deeper understanding of the Spanish language and culture.

In the Spanish immersion kindergarten class, students will receive 100 percent instruction in Spanish. They will only use English on the playground, in hallways and in specials classes, Principal James Onderlinde said.

To bring the immersion class to fruition, the school has partnered with Add-a-lingua, “an organization that supports schools with the establishment and development of the dual language model,” Onderlinde explained. Add-a-lingua will help with aligning the curriculum so the classroom and instruction are equal to the traditional classrooms.

Currently, GHCS students in Young Fives through eighth grade have a 30-minute Spanish class once a week. Onderlinde said they hope to increase that in the future.

The principal said there are many benefits to providing the young students with a dual language environment.

“For the school, it gives us the opportunity to educate students about and promote a rich cross-cultural experience and greater global awareness for our students,” he said. “For the child, the benefits are numerous. Spanish immersion provides an opportunity for our students to achieve a high degree of proficiency in a second language through this program.”

Another goal of the program is for students to “gain academic achievement equal to or greater than their monolingual peers.” Onderlinde said children with second-language proficiency have more opportunities to engage with people and serve without a language barrier, “spreading God’s love to people at home and abroad.”

“We believe this offers a unique educational opportunity that we are excited to be able to offer to our community,” Onderlinde said. “Our school’s mission is to educate minds and shape hearts for service to God in His world.”

A first-grade Spanish immersion class will be added the following school year. Students in the program will be taught in Spanish until third grade, Onderlinde said.

To enroll in the Spanish immersion kindergarten class or other grades, call the Grand Haven Christian School office at 616-842-5420.

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