Friday, November 21, 2008

Claire: Helping Pre-K Students with Spanish and English

By Claire Pescheret

Working with young children at Booker T. Washington has been a lovely experience. I have never spoken to children so little in Spanish before! As with any child, their maturity for such a small size always shocks me. Their brains can absorb and understand so much!

In my particular case, the students at Booker T. Washington are attempting to become bilingual. This process begins at the young age of 3 or 4 in pre-k, where I volunteer. These children practice their English during designated times throughout the school day. Since they are also fluent in Spanish, they are learning their colors and letters in this language. As much as English is something that is important for these students to be exposed to, more of an emphasis is placed on the children mastering Spanish. The children are young, and, as with any language, even though they are able to communicate in Spanish, their grammar and pronunciation are not always stellar. There are even certain students whose Spanish in general is very limited, for they have not developed basic speaking skills for one reason or another.

My job is to help these children in their mastery of Spanish first, and then some English as well. This is a stimulating challenge that allows me to use my skills for the benefit of these young students’ formation period.


  1. I've been looking around for preschools for my child and I was wondering if an immersion program would be a good idea. I am bilingual and I thought it would be neat if my child went to a school that helped him to be the same. Do you know if there are many immersion programs set up in preschools right now?

  2. Ray, do you live in Champaign-Urbana? It's the only town I know details about.