When it comes to pre-K students, the city is speaking their language.
The city’s Department of Education announced this month that it will add dual language programs to 33 pre-K classes at schools across the five boroughs. The classes will be a mix of students who speak a foreign language at home, and students who speak English. Foreign languages taught include Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Bengali and Italian.
All lessons will be given in both English and another language with the goal of making the students bilingual and biliterate, according to School’s Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
“Being able to speak and read in a different language, and understand a different culture, is a game-changer for our kids,” she said in a statement.
Some of the schools adding the new program in the fall are P.S. 49 in the Bronx, which will teach Spanish, The Little Brooklyn Pre-K Center in Sunset Park, which will teach Spanish and Mandarin, P.S. 145 in the Upper West Side, which will teach Spanish and Russian, and the Ezra Jack Keats Pre-K Center in Jamaica, which will teach Bengali.
Currently, 30 pre-K classes have the dual language program, bringing the citywide total to 63.
Steven Choi, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said educational initiatives like this are crucial for families who are trying to get accustomed to their new home.
“In these difficult times for immigrant families, bilingual programs send a powerful message that families’ home language is a valuable asset,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with the DOE to further map bilingual programs to needs across New York’s diverse immigrant communities.”