Spanish Immersion Preschool Research: Competitive Landscape
Two Austin preschools offering Spanish Immersion classes were chosen for comparison, based on having the highest ratings on Yelp. They are: INIC Preschool — International Immersion Center and Copernicus STEM, Language and Arts Academy. The comparison of the schools was not always comparable. The categories include: school calendar, tuition and fees, application process, waitlist process, program specialties/highlights, unique selling proposition, website messaging, and target audience. A detail of the results can be found in the attached spreadsheet. In addition, Child's Day's proposed immersion program, being in the planning stages, cannot be directly compared to the other two existing programs. In some locations, the Copernicus program is referred to as "dual language" rather than immersion.
Highlights of INIC Preschool — International Immersion Center
This is a high-tech school with streaming WatchMeGrow cameras in every classroom and a private part of the website which requires parent credentials before entering. There is an emphasis on academic excellence, and they accept children as young as three months old. Their fees are approximately 25% lower than those at Child's Day.
Highlights of Copernicus STEM, Language and Arts Academy
This school takes its STEM focus very seriously. Children of all ages are performing experiments, caring for animals and building simple mechanical tools, and meeting scientists. This school doesn't accept infants, with their students starting at 18 months old, and their fees are unknown as they aren't listed on the school's website.
Highlights of Child's Day
Spanish Immersion Preschool Research: Case Studies
We used available publications from LePort Montessori, Mansfield Spanish Immersion School, Jump Immersion School, and a triangulation of expert opinions to create this research report because they all provided the basis for the interest of this request. After rigorous research, we assumed the requested case studies were not pre-existing because these immersion preschools would naturally hide their growth and operation strategies for business purposes. However, we expanded our research time limit beyond Wonder's standard two-year research scope to include credible research-backed expert opinions that also support the interest of this request.
Narrowing down to LePort's Spanish Immersion preschool, it was considered a good option for children with at least one Spanish-speaking parent in order to retain their Spanish skills beyond toddler years. They stated that children whose parents spoke languages other than English at home lost motivation to speak such languages when surrounded by fellow English-speaking pupils in preschool, hence, using this as a catch to encourage parents to put their children in an immersion preschool. And ultimately, their Spanish Immersion preschool if both, or one of such parents spoke Spanish.
Jump immersion school
Jump is an immersion preschool located in New Jersey. Researching testimonials of Spanish-speaking parents who enrolled their kids in their Spanish Immersion program reveals that some motivations these parents had were to maintain their Spanish heritage by ensuring their kids learned the Spanish language along with the English language; while others pointed out their children were more confident if they knew two languages at least. Using the above motivations, we assumed the success/effects of Spanish Immersion on overall life-long childhood development by triangulating two expert opinions from immersion school instructors who have multilingual kids. They noted that dual-language classes "filled a void in language education in Western Queens," and that children who can speak more than one language, as well as understand other cultures were better placed to adjust into the real world. They highlighted these expert opinions while supporting parents who launched the bid to build an immersive bilingual preschool in Long Island. Hence, it is assumed that these parents wanted to preserve their heritage, as well as help their kids to adjust better to the real world.
Mansfield Spanish Immersion School
Among four other schools, Mansfield Spanish Immersion School was recognized in Ohio as a High Performing School of Honor. They attributed this feat to the learning of languages, which they stated helped their students excel in math because the part of the brain used for learning math was the same part also used for learning languages. Also, their principal highlighted that language immersion helped their kids to be more logical and thoughtful thinkers. Although highlighting these points was a way to celebrate their feat, raising logical and thoughtful thinking kids, as well as ones who excelled in math, and school generally, are primary motivations enough to drive parents to put their kids in immersion schools. To complement this case study, a situation of language immersion preschool enough to produce the feat won by Mansfield, as highlighted by HWIS.org, include creating classrooms that cover for both language and cultural immersions, which gives appreciation for different traditions and perspectives. Doing this helps to make students adapt to conditions, develop cognitive control that allows for better focus, multi-task, and ultimately become more appealing to employers when they are ready for the workforce.
Some Expert opinions
Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas, both George Mason University professors, identified that in the long-term, bilingual education programs were the only programs that closed the gaps of achievement between English learners and their peers. Also, English learners who took instructions in their native language were found to have better educational success by Fred Genesee of McGill University after analyzing 25 years of research for a 2005 paper. A research study done in 2012 revealed that while people were worried that developing languages other English had the likelihood to affect good levels of spoken and written English skills, the research report showed the contrary. Immersion students, who were also proficient in English, were found to be capable of achieving, and in some cases, more than their non-immersion peers on standard reading and math measures.
Preservation of their Spanish heritage, desire to motivate their kids to speak Spanish (because they could lose such motivation when surrounded by only English-speaking pupils), and because, generally, learning a language other English helped their kids better prepare for the real world are some motivations for parents who put their kids in a Spanish Immersion Preschool.