Elizabeth Christensen and 6-year-old Carlton Wexler talk about The Language Tree, which focuses on immersing 2 to 6 year-olds in a second language (French or Spanish).
Original Air Date: July 15, 2015
What is Immersion and what is The Language Tree?
Check out this audio recording done by Nick Wilson and MU School of Journalism. It was recorded in October 2017.
The History of The Language Tree
In 2012, 22 families started The Language Tree because they wanted a loving environment which fosters language learning in French and Spanish. From the beginning, The Language Tree was founded on a non-profit model which is supported and maintained by the community of parents. Parental involvement is the cornerstone that enables The Language Tree's success.
From the beginning, The Language Tree has focused on the mission to provide a safe, stable, and an academically challenging language immersion program for 2-6 year olds. Our focus is to provide a stimulating educational experience, which promotes each child's social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Our goal is to enhance the children's desire to be life-long learners.
What is Language Immersion?
Children are immersed in a second language (French or Spanish) continually at The Language Tree. All activities are conducted in a second language including lessons, games, songs, arts/crafts, and snack time. Children are encouraged to use French or Spanish vocabulary in all of their activities throughout the day and the teachers help them find the right words and then structure the words into a fluent sentence. The students structure their cohesive thoughts and sentences in the second language during socialization, while using their motor skills, doing math, reading, and doing science experiments. At the same time, students are developing their ability to comprehend and communicate in a second language.
Q: How long will it take for my child to become fluent in the immersion language?
A: Every child will retain the language at a different rate, but it will mirror how they learn in their native language.
Q: We don’t speak the second language at home, how can we help our child progress?
A: Any immersion material that you can introduce in your home will further the experience your child recieves at The Language Tree. This can include DVDs, CDs, or even books. Additionally, the school has material that parents can check out.
Q: Will my child be able to proceed within the American school system easily?
A: Yes, in fact research indicates that children who study a foreign language develop a better understanding and command of their native language. All skills and concepts learned at the Language Tree are transferable and applicable to traditional schooling.
Q: When are applications due?
A: We accept applications on a rolling basis for the following school year and also accept some students mid-year if space is available.
Q: Do you require an entrance exam?
A: No, we do not require an entrance exam. We group students in age-appropriate classes to foster growth.
Q: How does my child retain their language skills once they graduate from The Language Tree?
A: The Language Tree offers a Graduate Program for students who have experienced a language immersion setting or program previously. The Graduate program meets two days per week after school to focus on language retention and reading in the second language.
Quick TLT Information
The Language Tree operates on a 10 month school year, August to May.
Class size is 12 students maximum with 2-3 teachers in each classroom.
Our teacher to student ratio is 1:4
The school day is conducted in the program language, French or Spanish.
In order to facilitate the success of language acquisition, all programs are 5 days a week, excluding our After School and Graduate Programs.
We offer an enrichment program to compliment the remaining 1/2 day for parents who require full-day care. The Enrichment Program is an immersion setting as well.
Summer camps are offered June-July-August.
Why choose Language Immersion?
Sparks language & intellectual growth
Enhances mathematical problem-solving
Stimulates creativity & cognitive flexibility
Improves listening and decision-making skills
Augments understanding of one’s language
Facilitates learning of additional languages
Promotes cultural awareness