Making the Grade: Language Immersion Schools

Teachers speak only Spanish to their preschoolers at Pine Village Preschool

The start of the day in most preschools involves circle time, singing, and an educational arts and crafts lesson; however, a preschool in Needham, Massachusetts, is doing things differently.

Emma Lavecchia and Brid Martin are former Boston educators turned co-founders of Pine Village Preschool, a Spanish language immersion school, that first opened in Boston in 2001.

Children as young as 15 months, coming primarily from English speaking households, but also Spanish and bilingual households, are exposed to teachers speaking Spanish 100 percent of the time.

When it first opened, Pine Village was not a full immersion school, but that eventually changed when educators began noticing its benefits.

"Over the course of several years, we sort of watched and studied how children absorbed a second language and acquired a second language and we decided over the course of those years that the more Spanish we exposed them to, the faster they learned and the faster they acquired a second language and the more benefits we saw blossom," Lavecchia explained.

"Incorporating a second language is so easy and so natural for them that they grasp it right away and they develop it simultaneously with their primary language," Martin added.

According to recent studies, kids in immersion language programs score higher in creativity and problem-solving than their peers knowing just one language.

"I think whether you're Hispanic or not or speak at home, it gives children an opportunity of a lifetime to expose them to the cognitive skills," said Claudia Renaldi, a parent. "It really allows them to link to the family."

That’s why Pine Village Pre-School is Making the Grade. 

Contact Us