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IHC preparing for new youth Spanish program

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Easy as uno, dos, tres.

Immaculate Heart Central kindergarten and first-grade pupils will learn the basics of Spanish next year as a part of the school’s pilot youth language program.

“As a former counselor, I’ve always been biased that if we’re going to teach foreign languages, the earlier the better,” IHC Elementary Principal Gary F. West said. “I think the prime time to do it is when kids are very, very young.”

The school will hire a part-time Spanish instructor who will dedicate an hour per week to each class.

Mr. West said the language curriculum is being developed. His plan is that the teacher reinforces the core curriculum taught in class as well as teaching the students how to converse in Spanish.

The junior/senior high school teaches Latin, Spanish and French.

If the pilot program goes well, he will add the program to the second grade by the 2014-15 school year. Every year after that, the program will be added to the next grade up.

Learning Spanish, he said, will help the youngest IHC pupils enhance their development of reading, writing, listening and speaking of English as well.

The new program is a part of several initiatives to increase enrollment at the parochial school. In February, Executive System Administrator Christopher E. Hornbarger announced the school is adding a junior kindergarten, the new youth Spanish program and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses in the junior/senior high school.

For Mr. West, however, an increase in enrollment would be the icing on the cake — rather than the cake itself — for the new program.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about what’s best for kids,” he said. “Yeah, sure, we’d like to boost enrollment, but it’s really all about the kids.”

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