I am extremely proud of this guide, and would like to thank all the school’s administrators and faculty who have assisted me in its preparation. While this guide should answer many of your questions, I encourage you to speak with parents who have children at our school or enrolled in other bilingual programs. I also encourage you to look at our website (www.istp.org) for available parent and student resources, and of course contact us directly if you have additional questions. A bilingual education is truly one of the most precious gifts you can give your child. It is one that can transform your son or daughter, and the benefits of it will continually amaze you. Yet, the commitment towards providing your child with a bilingual education is one that should not be taken lightly. It is not uncommon for me to meet parents who are asking themselves “Are we ready for this?” “Will my child succeed in a bilingual environment?” ”Will she be able to learn in two languages?” or “Will I be able to support my child?” At the International School of the Peninsula we are committed to educating our students through a rigorous, bilingual curriculum. But equally important to us is that we nurture and teach students to have the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to succeed in today’s global economy. Through language, your child will be exposed to new cultures, and as we say at ISTP, we are “Many Cultures. One World.” I congratulate you on exploring a bilingual education for your child and encourage you to give the gift of a lifetime - a bilingual education. A few years ago, the administrators and faculty at the International School of the Peninsula decided that it was important to sit down and reflect on the virtues of bilingualism, as well as on the questions that are commonly asked by prospective and current parents. We understand that choosing a bilingual education can be a challenging decision. Warmest Regards, We have designed this question and answer guide to assist you in making a decision regarding your child’s education, and give you a better understanding of how you can be involved in their bilingual journey. We have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about a bilingual education, and offer advice on how you can foster your child’s success. 4 5
I am extremely proud of this guide, and would like to thank all the school   s administrators and faculty who have assiste...
I am extremely proud of this guide, and would like to thank all the school’s administrators and faculty who have assisted me in its preparation. While this guide should answer many of your questions, I encourage you to speak with parents who have children at our school or enrolled in other bilingual programs. I also encourage you to look at our website (www.istp.org) for available parent and student resources, and of course contact us directly if you have additional questions. A bilingual education is truly one of the most precious gifts you can give your child. It is one that can transform your son or daughter, and the benefits of it will continually amaze you. Yet, the commitment towards providing your child with a bilingual education is one that should not be taken lightly. It is not uncommon for me to meet parents who are asking themselves “Are we ready for this?” “Will my child succeed in a bilingual environment?” ”Will she be able to learn in two languages?” or “Will I be able to support my child?” At the International School of the Peninsula we are committed to educating our students through a rigorous, bilingual curriculum. But equally important to us is that we nurture and teach students to have the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to succeed in today’s global economy. Through language, your child will be exposed to new cultures, and as we say at ISTP, we are “Many Cultures. One World.” I congratulate you on exploring a bilingual education for your child and encourage you to give the gift of a lifetime - a bilingual education. A few years ago, the administrators and faculty at the International School of the Peninsula decided that it was important to sit down and reflect on the virtues of bilingualism, as well as on the questions that are commonly asked by prospective and current parents. We understand that choosing a bilingual education can be a challenging decision. Warmest Regards, We have designed this question and answer guide to assist you in making a decision regarding your child’s education, and give you a better understanding of how you can be involved in their bilingual journey. We have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about a bilingual education, and offer advice on how you can foster your child’s success. 4 5
I am extremely proud of this guide, and would like to thank all the school   s administrators and faculty who have assiste...
CONSIDERING A BILINGUAL EDUCATION What are some advantages of being bilingual? Research has shown that a bilingual education has many cognitive benefits; it develops the brain differently, stimulating more mental flexibility, creativity and originality of thought. Bilingual children will have the capacity to look at any problem, big or small, from many different perspectives. Words can have multiple meanings; problems can have multiple solutions; situations can be seen from multiple viewpoints. When children think in two languages, they can easily imagine more than one way to accomplish their objectives and more than one way to approach a complex dilemma. the chance of increased language proficiency. This is partially due to the general abilities of younger children and the importance of stimulation at this stage. At a later age, auditory discrimination and the ability to imitate sounds begin to fade. Also, younger students tend to be less fearful of making mistakes and are more willing to go with the flow of communicating in another language. Is bilingualism suited for any type of child? What if my child has learning difficulties? Most of the time, there are no obstacles to learning a second language. Being bilingual is not a rare situation in the world. In fact, the latest research estimates that half of the world population is bilingual or even multilingual. Developing bilingualism, however, does not mean that abilities are equal in both languages Why should my child begin learning a second language early? Research shows that the earlier a child begins to learn a second language, the greater 6 at every stage of language development. It is difficult for specialists to determine which language is dominant in terms of performance, but researchers agree that while fluency in both languages can be obtained, one of the languages is dominant with regards to cognitive development. Students in ISTP’s bilingual language programs face two different approaches in methodology within the school day, and the bilingual child learns early on how to manage his school environment with little intervention. As with bilingual adults, bilingual children use “code switching” with their two languages. “Code switching” is switching between languages. This occurs naturally and depends on the audience and purpose of the communication. Children will apply this same mechanism to their teacher and their environment. In a learning environment that focuses on more than one language, the child learns to use language-specific and culturally appropriate responses progressively through the school years, which enhances the child’s learning experiences. What are some of the different learning processes my child may encounter during the early years at a bilingual language school? An international school provides your child with a unique environment, allowing him to develop the ability to analyze situations from multiple viewpoints. Your child’s school years will also be genuinely enhanced by the exposure to varying thoughts and methods of approaching situations. 7
CONSIDERING A BILINGUAL EDUCATION  What are some advantages of being bilingual  Research has shown that a bilingual educat...
CONSIDERING A BILINGUAL EDUCATION What are some advantages of being bilingual? Research has shown that a bilingual education has many cognitive benefits; it develops the brain differently, stimulating more mental flexibility, creativity and originality of thought. Bilingual children will have the capacity to look at any problem, big or small, from many different perspectives. Words can have multiple meanings; problems can have multiple solutions; situations can be seen from multiple viewpoints. When children think in two languages, they can easily imagine more than one way to accomplish their objectives and more than one way to approach a complex dilemma. the chance of increased language proficiency. This is partially due to the general abilities of younger children and the importance of stimulation at this stage. At a later age, auditory discrimination and the ability to imitate sounds begin to fade. Also, younger students tend to be less fearful of making mistakes and are more willing to go with the flow of communicating in another language. Is bilingualism suited for any type of child? What if my child has learning difficulties? Most of the time, there are no obstacles to learning a second language. Being bilingual is not a rare situation in the world. In fact, the latest research estimates that half of the world population is bilingual or even multilingual. Developing bilingualism, however, does not mean that abilities are equal in both languages Why should my child begin learning a second language early? Research shows that the earlier a child begins to learn a second language, the greater 6 at every stage of language development. It is difficult for specialists to determine which language is dominant in terms of performance, but researchers agree that while fluency in both languages can be obtained, one of the languages is dominant with regards to cognitive development. Students in ISTP’s bilingual language programs face two different approaches in methodology within the school day, and the bilingual child learns early on how to manage his school environment with little intervention. As with bilingual adults, bilingual children use “code switching” with their two languages. “Code switching” is switching between languages. This occurs naturally and depends on the audience and purpose of the communication. Children will apply this same mechanism to their teacher and their environment. In a learning environment that focuses on more than one language, the child learns to use language-specific and culturally appropriate responses progressively through the school years, which enhances the child’s learning experiences. What are some of the different learning processes my child may encounter during the early years at a bilingual language school? An international school provides your child with a unique environment, allowing him to develop the ability to analyze situations from multiple viewpoints. Your child’s school years will also be genuinely enhanced by the exposure to varying thoughts and methods of approaching situations. 7
CONSIDERING A BILINGUAL EDUCATION  What are some advantages of being bilingual  Research has shown that a bilingual educat...
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: THE PROCESS What is the typical process of learning a second language? Will my child understand the second language before he speaks it? Research has shown that there is a consistent developmental sequence for children acquiring a second language. First, there is often a period of time during which a child continues to use his native language in second language situations. Then, most children enter a nonverbal, or “silent,” period. Following this period, children begin to use “telegraphic” and “formulaic” phrases (or catch phrases) in the second language. Finally, children begin to develop productive use of their second language. teachers and peers who are using the second language. ISTP teachers establish routines and plan activities that both repeat and build upon each other, so that children can progressively become familiar with the second language. During this “silent” period, the children may utilize nonverbal means to communicate while in their second language classroom. Gradually, they begin to “rehearse” the second language by repeating the sounds that they hear around them. Children use telegraphic speech when they first begin to use their second language quite similar to how they first began speaking in their native language. Such utterances tend to contain a series of words that the children have learned. Common examples of telegraphic speech include identifying During the “silent” period, children are actively working on making sense of the target, or second, language. They observe and listen closely to their 8 classroom objects, counting and naming the letters of the alphabet. Formulaic speech emerges after children have memorized entire phrases that they have heard their peers and/or teachers use. These “formulas” are especially helpful in enabling children to enter play situations with the second language speakers around them. Phrases such as “I want to play with you” and “May I have a...” are examples of how children have comprehended and acquired means to communicate in the second language. young second language learners arrive at productive control over their new language. They initiate their own use of the second language while continuing to acquire and utilize new vocabulary words and grammatical structures. Productive language use in the second language follows formulaic speech, when children begin to develop an understanding of its syntactic and grammatical system. Through comparison and breakdown of formulaic terms together with the development and application of syntactic rules, How long will it take my child to speak the second language? The school provides a meaningful environment where students realize the value of mastering the second language. Nevertheless, there is a lot of value in starting your child in a second language as early as possible to increase the level of language proficiency. As in all learning processes, individual differences occur in how children proceed through the developmental sequence of second language acquisition. When a child realizes that he should not speak his native language in the second 9
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION  THE PROCESS  What is the typical process of learning a second language  Will my child underst...
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: THE PROCESS What is the typical process of learning a second language? Will my child understand the second language before he speaks it? Research has shown that there is a consistent developmental sequence for children acquiring a second language. First, there is often a period of time during which a child continues to use his native language in second language situations. Then, most children enter a nonverbal, or “silent,” period. Following this period, children begin to use “telegraphic” and “formulaic” phrases (or catch phrases) in the second language. Finally, children begin to develop productive use of their second language. teachers and peers who are using the second language. ISTP teachers establish routines and plan activities that both repeat and build upon each other, so that children can progressively become familiar with the second language. During this “silent” period, the children may utilize nonverbal means to communicate while in their second language classroom. Gradually, they begin to “rehearse” the second language by repeating the sounds that they hear around them. Children use telegraphic speech when they first begin to use their second language quite similar to how they first began speaking in their native language. Such utterances tend to contain a series of words that the children have learned. Common examples of telegraphic speech include identifying During the “silent” period, children are actively working on making sense of the target, or second, language. They observe and listen closely to their 8 classroom objects, counting and naming the letters of the alphabet. Formulaic speech emerges after children have memorized entire phrases that they have heard their peers and/or teachers use. These “formulas” are especially helpful in enabling children to enter play situations with the second language speakers around them. Phrases such as “I want to play with you” and “May I have a...” are examples of how children have comprehended and acquired means to communicate in the second language. young second language learners arrive at productive control over their new language. They initiate their own use of the second language while continuing to acquire and utilize new vocabulary words and grammatical structures. Productive language use in the second language follows formulaic speech, when children begin to develop an understanding of its syntactic and grammatical system. Through comparison and breakdown of formulaic terms together with the development and application of syntactic rules, How long will it take my child to speak the second language? The school provides a meaningful environment where students realize the value of mastering the second language. Nevertheless, there is a lot of value in starting your child in a second language as early as possible to increase the level of language proficiency. As in all learning processes, individual differences occur in how children proceed through the developmental sequence of second language acquisition. When a child realizes that he should not speak his native language in the second 9
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION  THE PROCESS  What is the typical process of learning a second language  Will my child underst...
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: THE PROCESS However, as indicated above, the rate of acquisition varies among children. language classroom, it is at this point that he must decide whether or not to make the effort to acquire the new language. Motivation plays an important role in second language acquisition. Being exposed to a second language is obviously not enough. Wanting to communicate with people who speak that language is crucial if acquisition is to occur. seek out opportunities to listen to and use the new language, and who are comfortable interacting in social situations, tend to progress more easily and quickly in learning a second language. Conversely, children who reject the second language and isolate themselves from native language speakers of the second language will logically not make similar progress in their acquisition. Therefore, giving value to the second language by providing more opportunities to use it in the child’s environment outside of the school is very important. Moreover, there are enormous individual differences among young children, as among adults, in how soon and well productive control of a second language is achieved. These differences are based on how each second learner approaches the task of learning a new language, the strategies that are employed and the personal characteristics of the individuals. Generally speaking, children who are genuinely interested in learning to communicate in a second language, who At ISTP, most children who are beginning to learn a second language typically begin telegraphic and formulaic speech after a few months. More productive language usage then emerges during the latter part of the year and the following school year. 10 or designated “family language,” so as to serve as an appropriate and correct language model. Is it normal for my child to switch between languages and/or mix the two languages? What should I do? It is normal for children who are becoming bilingual to switch between languages and occasionally mix the two languages. This is known as code switching. This occurs naturally and depends on the audience and purpose of the communication. Code switching generally occurs when a child is trying to clarify a statement or resolve an ambiguity. It is also used to attract or retain the listener’s attention and to elaborate. Children sometimes mix two languages when attempting to communicate a word or an expression that is immediately accessible to him in one of the languages but not the other. Like monolingual children, bilingual children also play with their two languages by making words rhyme, inventing new words or using certain words in inappropriate contexts. Is it normal for my young child to exhibit signs of anxiety while learning a second language? It is absolutely understandable that your child might show some signs of anxiety when learning a second language during the first few weeks or months of school. Children in a bilingual language program are being placed in a situation where they may have difficulty understanding what teachers tell them or may feel like they are not keeping up with the class. Children may need to use their native tongue to communicate, but the teachers will always try to link this communication back to the second language. Teachers use a variety of methods outside the language, such as using gestures to give clues as to their meaning in order to link the verbal communication with something the child already knows and understands. As a result, your child may sometimes feel confused in the classroom instruction or learning process. In addition, sometimes your child may not understand the reason why he has to learn a second language. We have observed that parental support is extremely important in supporting and encouraging a child through this learning process. Code switching and language mixing are mostly temporary phenomena in the second language acquisition process. As children become more adept in their two languages, the perceived need or desire to combine them is greatly reduced. Children understand that each language has its own vocabulary and syntax. They also understand that certain people with whom they come in contact do not speak both of the languages that they speak. Consequently, they learn to use only one of their languages with them. Parents are encouraged to speak to their children in their native language and/ Does my child need to translate? Your child may translate in the beginning, but this process should disappear quickly. The act of translation will disappear as your child’s vocabulary increases. The only time your child will need to translate is when he is asked to do so or needs to explain something to someone who does not understand the language. 11
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION  THE PROCESS However, as indicated above, the rate of acquisition varies among children.  lang...
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: THE PROCESS However, as indicated above, the rate of acquisition varies among children. language classroom, it is at this point that he must decide whether or not to make the effort to acquire the new language. Motivation plays an important role in second language acquisition. Being exposed to a second language is obviously not enough. Wanting to communicate with people who speak that language is crucial if acquisition is to occur. seek out opportunities to listen to and use the new language, and who are comfortable interacting in social situations, tend to progress more easily and quickly in learning a second language. Conversely, children who reject the second language and isolate themselves from native language speakers of the second language will logically not make similar progress in their acquisition. Therefore, giving value to the second language by providing more opportunities to use it in the child’s environment outside of the school is very important. Moreover, there are enormous individual differences among young children, as among adults, in how soon and well productive control of a second language is achieved. These differences are based on how each second learner approaches the task of learning a new language, the strategies that are employed and the personal characteristics of the individuals. Generally speaking, children who are genuinely interested in learning to communicate in a second language, who At ISTP, most children who are beginning to learn a second language typically begin telegraphic and formulaic speech after a few months. More productive language usage then emerges during the latter part of the year and the following school year. 10 or designated “family language,” so as to serve as an appropriate and correct language model. Is it normal for my child to switch between languages and/or mix the two languages? What should I do? It is normal for children who are becoming bilingual to switch between languages and occasionally mix the two languages. This is known as code switching. This occurs naturally and depends on the audience and purpose of the communication. Code switching generally occurs when a child is trying to clarify a statement or resolve an ambiguity. It is also used to attract or retain the listener’s attention and to elaborate. Children sometimes mix two languages when attempting to communicate a word or an expression that is immediately accessible to him in one of the languages but not the other. Like monolingual children, bilingual children also play with their two languages by making words rhyme, inventing new words or using certain words in inappropriate contexts. Is it normal for my young child to exhibit signs of anxiety while learning a second language? It is absolutely understandable that your child might show some signs of anxiety when learning a second language during the first few weeks or months of school. Children in a bilingual language program are being placed in a situation where they may have difficulty understanding what teachers tell them or may feel like they are not keeping up with the class. Children may need to use their native tongue to communicate, but the teachers will always try to link this communication back to the second language. Teachers use a variety of methods outside the language, such as using gestures to give clues as to their meaning in order to link the verbal communication with something the child already knows and understands. As a result, your child may sometimes feel confused in the classroom instruction or learning process. In addition, sometimes your child may not understand the reason why he has to learn a second language. We have observed that parental support is extremely important in supporting and encouraging a child through this learning process. Code switching and language mixing are mostly temporary phenomena in the second language acquisition process. As children become more adept in their two languages, the perceived need or desire to combine them is greatly reduced. Children understand that each language has its own vocabulary and syntax. They also understand that certain people with whom they come in contact do not speak both of the languages that they speak. Consequently, they learn to use only one of their languages with them. Parents are encouraged to speak to their children in their native language and/ Does my child need to translate? Your child may translate in the beginning, but this process should disappear quickly. The act of translation will disappear as your child’s vocabulary increases. The only time your child will need to translate is when he is asked to do so or needs to explain something to someone who does not understand the language. 11
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION  THE PROCESS However, as indicated above, the rate of acquisition varies among children.  lang...
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: THE PROCESS How will I know that my child’s language development in each language is normal and acceptable? The best way is to communicate with your child’s teachers. The school uses assessment tools to monitor students’ academic progress, and will provide tri-semester reports cards on your child’s performance. Twice a year, teachers will hold parent-teacher conferences, at which time you can discuss your child’s language development and program. stimulating materials for your child to read and listen to in both languages. You should also participate in cultural events to support the understanding of the second language. How will my child transfer concepts from one language to the other? Learning in a foreign language promotes your child’s mastery of fundamental concepts of learning and problem solving. Once the student possesses the necessary vocabulary and terminology, he should have no problems transferring the learned concept from one language to another. Do boys and girls differ in their language development? There is no research to support the idea that gender has any effect on language learning and development. Individuals have differences in the speed and proficiency for which they can acquire language. Maturity and a child’s developmental ability may explain why some children develop more quickly. Academic ability also does not correlate to language learning ability. However, a child’s interest and motivation for learning the language are key factors for success. Boys and girls need both encouragement and validation as they progress individually in their acquisition of language. “The value of a bilingual and bicultural education goes well beyond the language. A bilingual education, within the context of a dynamic international community, will give your child a deep understanding and respect for other cultures and ways of thinking. In today’s global economy, those who embrace diversity of thought will have a multitude of opportunities available to them.” How will my child’s progress compare to other children his age who are not in a bilingual language program? During the process of a bilingual education, there may be times that your child is ahead of, at par with or behind his peers who are not in a bilingual language program. Some research suggests that at times there may be a temporary lag in development between the ages of six and ten, but the lag is only temporary. Research also shows that bilingual language students quickly catch up, and many surpass their monolingual peers by 5th grade. The advantages in thinking and self-esteem that come from learning a second language far outweigh the temporary lag that your child may experience from time to time during the learning process. Will my child become equally fluent in both languages? Your child may become equally fluent in both languages provided there are opportunities for your child to learn, practice and interact in both languages. While ISTP will provide your child with formal opportunities to learn the second language, parental support is equally important. You should encourage and validate your child’s efforts and achievements in both languages, and provide 13
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION  THE PROCESS How will I know that my child   s language development in each language is normal...
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: THE PROCESS How will I know that my child’s language development in each language is normal and acceptable? The best way is to communicate with your child’s teachers. The school uses assessment tools to monitor students’ academic progress, and will provide tri-semester reports cards on your child’s performance. Twice a year, teachers will hold parent-teacher conferences, at which time you can discuss your child’s language development and program. stimulating materials for your child to read and listen to in both languages. You should also participate in cultural events to support the understanding of the second language. How will my child transfer concepts from one language to the other? Learning in a foreign language promotes your child’s mastery of fundamental concepts of learning and problem solving. Once the student possesses the necessary vocabulary and terminology, he should have no problems transferring the learned concept from one language to another. Do boys and girls differ in their language development? There is no research to support the idea that gender has any effect on language learning and development. Individuals have differences in the speed and proficiency for which they can acquire language. Maturity and a child’s developmental ability may explain why some children develop more quickly. Academic ability also does not correlate to language learning ability. However, a child’s interest and motivation for learning the language are key factors for success. Boys and girls need both encouragement and validation as they progress individually in their acquisition of language. “The value of a bilingual and bicultural education goes well beyond the language. A bilingual education, within the context of a dynamic international community, will give your child a deep understanding and respect for other cultures and ways of thinking. In today’s global economy, those who embrace diversity of thought will have a multitude of opportunities available to them.” How will my child’s progress compare to other children his age who are not in a bilingual language program? During the process of a bilingual education, there may be times that your child is ahead of, at par with or behind his peers who are not in a bilingual language program. Some research suggests that at times there may be a temporary lag in development between the ages of six and ten, but the lag is only temporary. Research also shows that bilingual language students quickly catch up, and many surpass their monolingual peers by 5th grade. The advantages in thinking and self-esteem that come from learning a second language far outweigh the temporary lag that your child may experience from time to time during the learning process. Will my child become equally fluent in both languages? Your child may become equally fluent in both languages provided there are opportunities for your child to learn, practice and interact in both languages. While ISTP will provide your child with formal opportunities to learn the second language, parental support is equally important. You should encourage and validate your child’s efforts and achievements in both languages, and provide 13
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION  THE PROCESS How will I know that my child   s language development in each language is normal...
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT DURING THE BILINGUAL LEARNING PROCESS AT ISTP? “The ages between three and five are the most critical period of your child’s bilingual process. At this age, your child is like a sponge and is able to absorb far more than is possible for teens an adults. During these formative years, we encourage age-appropriate, developmental play-based learning. At the same time, we emphasize mathematic and linguistic building blocks that will be necessary to succeed in elementary school.” Nursery: Students learn a language by using it. At this point in children’s lives, they are still developing their first language, so it becomes a natural process to discover and develop a second language as well. Children will learn through exposure as well as direct instruction, alongside native language speakers. For many of our nursery students, this is their first exposure to a school environment and they will begin learning how to be a student and community member. They will be learning in a stimulating academic environment in two languages, thus learning through a second language becomes a natural part of their day and being. Some children speak right away and learn from making mistakes while others take a longer time to express themselves in the second language. Once ready, they speak articulately with few mistakes. Parents can expect the learning process to take several months. PreK and Kindergarten: Our pre-k and kindergarteners will continue their second language acquisition, similar to how they are developing their first language. The development of a rich vocabulary of words, skills, and concepts is at the heart of the learning process across both languages. As students build their rich oral language, they will begin laying the foundations of their pre-reading and pre-writing skills. In a bilingual education, a rich oral language in both the first and second language is important as it will be the foundation that the children will build upon as they begin to read and write in both languages. Students will learn through “hands-on” activities that promote creativity, problem solving and social interactions. 15
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT DURING THE BILINGUAL LEARNING PROCESS AT ISTP      The ages between three and five are the most critic...
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT DURING THE BILINGUAL LEARNING PROCESS AT ISTP? “The ages between three and five are the most critical period of your child’s bilingual process. At this age, your child is like a sponge and is able to absorb far more than is possible for teens an adults. During these formative years, we encourage age-appropriate, developmental play-based learning. At the same time, we emphasize mathematic and linguistic building blocks that will be necessary to succeed in elementary school.” Nursery: Students learn a language by using it. At this point in children’s lives, they are still developing their first language, so it becomes a natural process to discover and develop a second language as well. Children will learn through exposure as well as direct instruction, alongside native language speakers. For many of our nursery students, this is their first exposure to a school environment and they will begin learning how to be a student and community member. They will be learning in a stimulating academic environment in two languages, thus learning through a second language becomes a natural part of their day and being. Some children speak right away and learn from making mistakes while others take a longer time to express themselves in the second language. Once ready, they speak articulately with few mistakes. Parents can expect the learning process to take several months. PreK and Kindergarten: Our pre-k and kindergarteners will continue their second language acquisition, similar to how they are developing their first language. The development of a rich vocabulary of words, skills, and concepts is at the heart of the learning process across both languages. As students build their rich oral language, they will begin laying the foundations of their pre-reading and pre-writing skills. In a bilingual education, a rich oral language in both the first and second language is important as it will be the foundation that the children will build upon as they begin to read and write in both languages. Students will learn through “hands-on” activities that promote creativity, problem solving and social interactions. 15
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT DURING THE BILINGUAL LEARNING PROCESS AT ISTP      The ages between three and five are the most critic...
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT DURING THE BILINGUAL LEARNING PROCESS AT ISTP? Lower Elementary School (1st and 2nd Grades): Our elementary school program is rich, challenging, and designed to build on the bilingual foundation that was laid during our Early Years Program (nursery – kindergarten). Students “learn to read” in the largest sense of the term - they build the base of skills required for school and future learning. The students are still in a language-building process and all activities are designed to consolidate prior learning, develop language skills, and expand vocabulary. Children learn to read only once, and a child’s ability to read will also add value to the second language. Reading means understanding what is written. Reading is not the simple act of decoding, even though children definitely need to learn coding mechanisms and phonics to improve their reading performance level. During the Lower Elementary School years, this is where you will see the biggest difference between a bilingual education and one that is monolingual, like an American school (public or private). Students at this age are learning to read in two languages, thus the path to mastering reading will appear to take longer. However, as a parent, you need to remember that your child will be learning to read and process in two languages, thus the consolidation period and acquisition time will be different than monolingual schools. 16 Upper Elementary School (3rd-5th Grades): In Upper Elementary, students use the skills they learned in 1st and 2nd grade to learn and comprehend more content and information. They develop the ability to understand and express and solve increasingly complex ideas and problems. Students strengthen their communication and interpersonal skills as they learn to effectively collaborate with others. While the second language continues to be built upon, it also becomes a medium of communication. Students have internalized their second language to the point where they can easily express themselves in formal academic works (writing, presentations, etc.). By the end of Upper Elementary, students are equipped with the confidence and skills they need for success in Middle School. Middle School (6th-8th grades): By the end of 8th grade, students are bilingual, biliterate and bicultural. Students are using the language to make connections between content and concepts at a higher level and will shift to more abstract thinking. Throughout their middle school years, students will be asked to produce works that demonstrate that they can critically think and analyze through the language, rather than in a bilingual way. 17
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT DURING THE BILINGUAL LEARNING PROCESS AT ISTP  Lower Elementary School  1st and 2nd Grades   Our eleme...
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT DURING THE BILINGUAL LEARNING PROCESS AT ISTP? Lower Elementary School (1st and 2nd Grades): Our elementary school program is rich, challenging, and designed to build on the bilingual foundation that was laid during our Early Years Program (nursery – kindergarten). Students “learn to read” in the largest sense of the term - they build the base of skills required for school and future learning. The students are still in a language-building process and all activities are designed to consolidate prior learning, develop language skills, and expand vocabulary. Children learn to read only once, and a child’s ability to read will also add value to the second language. Reading means understanding what is written. Reading is not the simple act of decoding, even though children definitely need to learn coding mechanisms and phonics to improve their reading performance level. During the Lower Elementary School years, this is where you will see the biggest difference between a bilingual education and one that is monolingual, like an American school (public or private). Students at this age are learning to read in two languages, thus the path to mastering reading will appear to take longer. However, as a parent, you need to remember that your child will be learning to read and process in two languages, thus the consolidation period and acquisition time will be different than monolingual schools. 16 Upper Elementary School (3rd-5th Grades): In Upper Elementary, students use the skills they learned in 1st and 2nd grade to learn and comprehend more content and information. They develop the ability to understand and express and solve increasingly complex ideas and problems. Students strengthen their communication and interpersonal skills as they learn to effectively collaborate with others. While the second language continues to be built upon, it also becomes a medium of communication. Students have internalized their second language to the point where they can easily express themselves in formal academic works (writing, presentations, etc.). By the end of Upper Elementary, students are equipped with the confidence and skills they need for success in Middle School. Middle School (6th-8th grades): By the end of 8th grade, students are bilingual, biliterate and bicultural. Students are using the language to make connections between content and concepts at a higher level and will shift to more abstract thinking. Throughout their middle school years, students will be asked to produce works that demonstrate that they can critically think and analyze through the language, rather than in a bilingual way. 17
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT DURING THE BILINGUAL LEARNING PROCESS AT ISTP  Lower Elementary School  1st and 2nd Grades   Our eleme...
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP How can I help my child reinforce the other language? Parental support throughout the educational process is the most important way to help your child learn the second language. You should place an equal amount of importance on both languages concerning grades and homework. Continually demonstrate to your child how curious you are about what he is learning. Simple things can be done that will go a long way in reinforcing the second language. Relate the language learning to fun experiences. Immerse your child in the second language through an activity that he particularly enjoys is a great way to reinforce his second language. This can be accomplished by establishing close friends and playmates for your child who speak the second language natively. You can invite a nativespeaking friend for a play date. Your child would 18 also benefit tremendously from visiting the friend’s house where the language is spoken natively. If your child develops close bonds with these nativespeaking children, it reinforces the language in a fun environment with a positive learning experience. Language summer camps can also be very helpful for reinforcing the language, especially over long breaks. Camps to consider include theater camps or those taking place in a country where your child’s second language is the native language. Traveling in a foreign country is also a good experience for the child, especially when your child can serve the important role of translator for the family. Watching videotapes in the second language will also help reinforce the language and assist with the learning process. 19
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP  How can I help my child reinforce the other language  Parental support throughout the educational pr...
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP How can I help my child reinforce the other language? Parental support throughout the educational process is the most important way to help your child learn the second language. You should place an equal amount of importance on both languages concerning grades and homework. Continually demonstrate to your child how curious you are about what he is learning. Simple things can be done that will go a long way in reinforcing the second language. Relate the language learning to fun experiences. Immerse your child in the second language through an activity that he particularly enjoys is a great way to reinforce his second language. This can be accomplished by establishing close friends and playmates for your child who speak the second language natively. You can invite a nativespeaking friend for a play date. Your child would 18 also benefit tremendously from visiting the friend’s house where the language is spoken natively. If your child develops close bonds with these nativespeaking children, it reinforces the language in a fun environment with a positive learning experience. Language summer camps can also be very helpful for reinforcing the language, especially over long breaks. Camps to consider include theater camps or those taking place in a country where your child’s second language is the native language. Traveling in a foreign country is also a good experience for the child, especially when your child can serve the important role of translator for the family. Watching videotapes in the second language will also help reinforce the language and assist with the learning process. 19
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP  How can I help my child reinforce the other language  Parental support throughout the educational pr...
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP How can I help my child develop his native language? Parents who commit to a bilingual education are encouraged to help their child further develop his native language. It is extremely important for you to continuously speak the native language to your child and to help him make the connection between his native language and the second language. For instance, you should provide him with native language vocabulary for the subject(s) that are taught in the second language and take him to cultural events. You also should have the child use his native language on a regular basis, especially if your family lives in a country where the native language is not spoken outside of the school. provides your child with opportunities to hear and speak the language. During the trip, he could participate in different cultural activities, camps and sports, and play with local children who are native speakers of your child’s second language. If neither parent speaks the language, will this affect my child’s second language development? This really depends on the child. If your child has a gift for language, then his language development will occur regardless of whether or not the second language is spoken at home. ISTP provides enough language acquisition support at school that it should not be a problem if the parents do not speak the second language. There are ways you can help even if you do not speak the second language. You can support your child by asking questions and being interested and involved in what he learns. It is important not to be too demanding or become frustrated because every child develops at his own pace. How can I help my child over the summer or long breaks? The best way to help your child retain the language is to immerse him in the language. It is very important that the immersion happen in a fun manner to ensure that your child really enjoys the language and becomes familiar with common sentence construction and accents. For example, traveling to a country where the language is spoken 20 21
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP How can I help my child develop his native language  Parents who commit to a bilingual education are ...
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP How can I help my child develop his native language? Parents who commit to a bilingual education are encouraged to help their child further develop his native language. It is extremely important for you to continuously speak the native language to your child and to help him make the connection between his native language and the second language. For instance, you should provide him with native language vocabulary for the subject(s) that are taught in the second language and take him to cultural events. You also should have the child use his native language on a regular basis, especially if your family lives in a country where the native language is not spoken outside of the school. provides your child with opportunities to hear and speak the language. During the trip, he could participate in different cultural activities, camps and sports, and play with local children who are native speakers of your child’s second language. If neither parent speaks the language, will this affect my child’s second language development? This really depends on the child. If your child has a gift for language, then his language development will occur regardless of whether or not the second language is spoken at home. ISTP provides enough language acquisition support at school that it should not be a problem if the parents do not speak the second language. There are ways you can help even if you do not speak the second language. You can support your child by asking questions and being interested and involved in what he learns. It is important not to be too demanding or become frustrated because every child develops at his own pace. How can I help my child over the summer or long breaks? The best way to help your child retain the language is to immerse him in the language. It is very important that the immersion happen in a fun manner to ensure that your child really enjoys the language and becomes familiar with common sentence construction and accents. For example, traveling to a country where the language is spoken 20 21
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP How can I help my child develop his native language  Parents who commit to a bilingual education are ...
LIFE AFTER ISTP Alumni of the International School of the Peninsula are well-prepared for high school in an international or American educational system. After experiencing life in high school, many of our alumni mention that there is a much closer student-teacher relationship at ISTP and miss our school’s close-knit community. Our alumni have received accolades in both English and their respective second languages and many continue studying international disciplines in college. Public Schools: Upon graduation our students attend top-ranked international and American private and public schools. Listed below are examples of schools that ISTP students have attended after 8th grade graduation. Sequoia High School Private Schools: International School of Geneva—Switzerland Fremont High School Gunn High School Los Altos High School Menlo Atherton High School Mountain View High School Palo Alto High School San Mateo High School International Schools: ACS Egham International School—England Centre International de Valbonne—France Lycée International of St Germain-en-Laye (American Section)—France Bellarmine College Preparatory—San Jose Castilleja School—Palo Alto Crystal Springs Uplands School—Hillsborough International High School—San Francisco Menlo School—Atherton Notre Dame High School—San Jose Pinewood—Los Altos Hills “I have come to realize in the past few years how valuable language really is, and that with this tool we can strive to accomplish anything. We can apply for jobs around the world, make diverse and great friends, and we can understand more about the world surrounding us.” St. Francis High School—Mountain View Woodside Priory—Portola Valley - Nathalie Morin Excerpt from 8th Grade Graduation Speech 22 23
LIFE AFTER ISTP Alumni of the International School of the Peninsula are well-prepared for high school in an international ...
LIFE AFTER ISTP Alumni of the International School of the Peninsula are well-prepared for high school in an international or American educational system. After experiencing life in high school, many of our alumni mention that there is a much closer student-teacher relationship at ISTP and miss our school’s close-knit community. Our alumni have received accolades in both English and their respective second languages and many continue studying international disciplines in college. Public Schools: Upon graduation our students attend top-ranked international and American private and public schools. Listed below are examples of schools that ISTP students have attended after 8th grade graduation. Sequoia High School Private Schools: International School of Geneva—Switzerland Fremont High School Gunn High School Los Altos High School Menlo Atherton High School Mountain View High School Palo Alto High School San Mateo High School International Schools: ACS Egham International School—England Centre International de Valbonne—France Lycée International of St Germain-en-Laye (American Section)—France Bellarmine College Preparatory—San Jose Castilleja School—Palo Alto Crystal Springs Uplands School—Hillsborough International High School—San Francisco Menlo School—Atherton Notre Dame High School—San Jose Pinewood—Los Altos Hills “I have come to realize in the past few years how valuable language really is, and that with this tool we can strive to accomplish anything. We can apply for jobs around the world, make diverse and great friends, and we can understand more about the world surrounding us.” St. Francis High School—Mountain View Woodside Priory—Portola Valley - Nathalie Morin Excerpt from 8th Grade Graduation Speech 22 23
LIFE AFTER ISTP Alumni of the International School of the Peninsula are well-prepared for high school in an international ...