Starting Them Young; NCSD Continues Dual Language in the Classroom

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Offering Mandarin and Spanish, the Dual Language Immersion program started five years ago.

"Paradise Valley houses the Mandarin program, and Park Elementary School hosts the Spanish program,” said Aaron Wilson, the Paradise Valley Elementary School Principal.

This is not a traditional foreign language class.

"It's learning in the language, not learning the language. And so these kids spend half their days learning in the target language, whether that's Spanish or Mandarin,” said Wilson.

It focuses on math, science, social studies, reading and writing.

The immersion program’s goal is to expose students to these languages at a young age.

Research shows the younger someone learns a language, the easier it is for them to pick it up.

"They can relate to both languages at the same time, and find what's common and what's different,” said Robyn Chivers, a Paradise Valley Elementary School 4th grade teacher.

"They learn very fast. Just like what our principal said, the earlier you start, the faster you pick it up,” said Ruiqiao Wu, another Paradise Valley Elementary School 4th grade teacher.

Tuesday night, parents considered the program at a dual language immersion meeting.

"It'll do nothing but give your kid an advantage in the future. I couldn't imagine trying to learn Mandarin or Spanish now, so maybe when I was younger it would've been easier,” said Tim Ficken, a parent.

"I think it's a perfect opportunity and I think they'd learn better younger,” said Misty Johnson, a parent.

"We're super excited about this program. We chose to move to Casper, we had a couple of options, we chose to move to Casper because of the Mandarin program,” said Sarahlynn Edwards, a parent.

"I think it's a good opportunity for me and my friends to be able to learn a different language,” said Mary Kate, a Paradise Valley Elementary School student.

Students say it’s not only about learning, but the fun that comes with talking to one another without others understanding.

Paradise valley students will travel to China in fifth grade, to see different cultures while practicing the language.

If you’re interested in enrolling, you must attend an informational meeting, sign and turn in the commitment form, to online between 1/3/2018 and 1/17/2018 to choose a DLI program of choice.

There are 40 spots for the Mandarin program at Paradise valley, and 20 spots for the Spanish program at Park Elementary.

Participants are chosen at random.