MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – A new state-funded pilot program is turning kindergarten on its head – teaching children something in a way they won’t learn until perhaps high school.
At Poston Road Elementary, a shift is underway that started this week when 27 kindergartners met Amy Bennett, their new teacher for half the day.
She speaks to them entirely in Spanish.
“They catch on so much quicker than a high school student would,” Bennett said.
The kids are part of what’s called the “Dual Language Immersion Pilot Program.”
The state granted five Indiana schools money last fall to kick off the program, with Martinsville schools taking the lead by being the first to get the program up and running.
And the kids aren’t just learning how to say their names and speak in Spanish. They are learning math, science, social studies and other subjects – all in an entirely different language.
A third of the kindergartners at Poston are part of the program; their parents had the option of whether to sign them up.
“She’s come home and every night at dinner, she’s taught us a new word,” mom Cheyenne Mappes said about her daughter. “I knew that if I immerse her now, she’ll be fluent by the time she’s in high school.”
The kids are slated to be in an immersion program every year through fourth grade. Poston will expand the program with them as they age until every grade in the school is covered.