CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – The YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga has opened a new language immersion preschool in Highland park.
The preschool has one unique goal – to produce students who are bilingual before they walk into kindergarten.
This preschool on Willow Street marks the 3rd as part of the YMCA, but this preschool will focus on a diversified program that promotes dual language instruction and development.
“Our staff is fully bilingual. The mornings are done in Spanish so it’s fully immersive. They do not break the language unless there’s an emergency and they need to speak with their children in their native tone whether that’s English or Spanish. Afternoons are fully done in English. With that 50/50 timeline. That’s really how we are going to build that language immersion,” says Jessica Storey, Senior Preschool Program Director.
Not only does the school help prepare the children for kindergarten but it prepares them for success in life.
“Being bilingual gives them an advantage particularly in this country today and with Knowing the direction that this country is going and how large the Latina population is and will be. Imagine how critical that is to be able to speak in two languages; it is a godsend for these kids,” says Janet Dunn, CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga.
With only 25% of our local children enrolled in early learning , local officials say accessible preschools like this are critical.
“A child’s brain is wired 90% by the time they are 6 years old. So this is such a critical time for both language learning and for neurological development. We still have far too many kids coming into kindergarten who just don’t even know their letters, numbers, and colors. So the most important thing for the city to do is to expand our early childhood education offerings so that more kids come into kindergarten prepared to learn,” says Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly.
The program’s design is not only academic and cultural, but affordable as well. For more information about how to give your child an educational advantage