19 Feb – Raising Multilingual Kids: Sandra’s Story
Are you interested in hearing from other parents why they chose language immersion for their kids?
Sandra is a native Spanish speaker raising her son Louis in San Antonio. She went to school and learned English in a bilingual environment, adding French as a third language when she was twelve. Now as an adult, she thinks back on the positive impact that language immersion education had on her. Sandra’s experience showed her that learning French early in life was also the right choice for her son Louis.
Choosing French Immersion at ISSA
Sandra and her husband visited Spanish immersion schools to see if it made sense to enroll Louis in a Spanish immersion program. In the end, they reconsidered based on whether or not it would help Louis become trilingual in the long-run. They felt it wasn’t the right investment to place him in a Spanish immersion program, since he was already developing speaking abilities at home with his grandparents and extended family.
“Since I was pregnant, we had it in mind that Louis would learn French as a third language. So we have been following ISSA since then. It has always been in my plans to have my kids – if possible – be trilingual.”
Experiencing language immersion first hand
Sandra knows that language immersion works from her own first-hand experience. She learned how to speak, read, and write in English and Spanish before discovering her love for the French language in the sixth grade.
“What I liked [about bilingual school] was that I picked up French pretty easily. I think having a background in Spanish helped me. Even if I didn’t know the French word, I could read it and understand because they are really similar.”
It was then that she knew she wanted to study abroad in France, and to continue learning a third language. Sandra spent time in Strasbourg, a city in the Northeast region of France. For Sandra, a trip to France is not just a trip to visit an interesting place. It’s visiting a “second home”.
“When I left to study abroad in college I was eighteen. So all my good years happened in France. Every time I go back, it feels like being home. It’s a part of me.”
Now she is seeking opportunities to share her experience with her son Louis by traveling to France together. Sandra is exposing him to French language to help him build vocabulary. She likes to travel with her family whenever possible.
Advice to parents considering a language immersion program
As a result of enrolling Louis in the French preschool track at ISSA, Sandra sees Louis spend time with other kids outside of school and use his new vocabulary correctly. She’s incredibly happy to hear him using French on his own. Sandra’s advice to parents considering a new program is to jump in with both feet.
“I would say just go for it. We asked ourselves if it was a good idea to enroll at this new school. I’m pretty sure a lot of parents go through this. They’re undecided because it’s hard to know if it’s going to be good or not. But we decided to do it and we’ve seen results in just a week.”