By Mary O’KEEFE
By Mary O’KEEFE
Beginning this fall Crescenta Valley kindergartners will be able to take a Korean dual language program at Monte Vista Elementary School. The Foreign Language Academy of Glendale (FLAG) is offered to all kindergartners who will begin the school year 2010-2011.
This is the first Crescenta Valley school within Glendale Unified School District that will offer a dual language program. Keppel, Edison and Franklin elementary schools already have foreign language programs.
“This is exciting,” said Monte Vista Principal Susan Hoge.
The program works on a 50-50 model of instruction. Teachers instruct 50% of the day in English and 50% in Korean.
“And teachers do not translate in English when they are teaching during the Korean [portion] of the day,” said Rosabel Park, the coordinator of the program at Monte Vista.
Keppel began the program in 2007; the students who began with that program are now in second grade. Noehi Wong, FLAG Korean coordinator at Keppel, said she has seen how the program works and how quickly and skillfully the students adapt to being bilingual.
“Our teachers use a lot of gestures when they teach…and there is no repetition of lessons. So if they learn a math lesson during the English portion of the class that same lesson would not be taught again in the Korean time of teaching,” Wong said.
Wong added that studies have indicated that students who fluently speak other languages when they are young tend to take more foreign languages when they are older. Another advantage is being able not to just learn the language but the accent and academics of that chosen language.
“When I came [to the United States] I could speak English but not as well because of the accent,” said Sangshin Han who is with the Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles and a parent at Monte Vista. “And when my daughter needed help in math, I understood the Korean math but not the way she was learning it here.”
Hoge added the academics are important in achieving a complete understanding of the language.
“I was in the [Los Angeles] pilot program using Spanish. It was the first bilingual program,” Hoge said. “I appreciate how important this program is. It is a wonderful opportunity for our students.”
Crescenta Valley parents interested in signing their kindergartners up for the Korean program can do so when they register their child at their local school. They are to let the school secretary know they are interested. If they have already registered their child, they can call Rosabel Park at Monte Vista, (818) 248-2617. Students do not have to live in the Monte Vista area but must live within Crescenta Valley.