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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Wilmington Bilingual Preschool?

Wilmington Bilingual Preschool is a new Spanish Immersion Preschool in Wilmington, NC. Our program is an extension of the wildly popular, 10-year old Best Amigos Preschool Spanish program of Wilmington and we are excited to be Wilmington’s first bilingual preschool! Our goal is for every child in our school to be bilingual in English and Spanish before kindergarten.

What is Spanish Immersion?

Spanish Immersion means all activities are conducted in Spanish including play time, circle time, eating and work time. Children are immersed in the language, helping them to become fluent. At Wilmington Bilingual Preschool, our classes are taught in 100% Spanish because immersion has been shown to be the most effective way to achieve fluency in a second language. Children adapt easily to the second language because they are in the early stages of their language development and their young brains are wired for accepting language. We help by making our classes interactive and fun, using many visual cues to help them understand.

Why Spanish Immersion?

Early childhood is an ideal time to start exposure to a second language because early childhood offers a small window of opportunity where the brain learns language easier than any other time in life. Even better, studies show that there are many cognitive benefits for children who are educated in a second language. Many bilingual children demonstrate increased analytical, social, and academic skills in math, science, creativity and memory. Here in New Hanover County, students at the Forest Hills Spanish Immersion Elementary School program outperformed non-immersion students on state standardized testing at both the county and state level! Here is a fantastic, easy-to-read article about the 15 reasons for kids to learn a foreign language and it includes many links to study sources.

What ages do you accept?

We accept children 18 months – 5 years old in our program.

Is this a full-day or half-day program?

Currently we are a half-day program, operating from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Monday- Friday. If you are interested in a full-day Spanish immersion preschool experience, please indicate this on our Parent Survey, as this is something we may be able to offer in the future, depending on interest.

What is Your Location?

We are located at 100 Spartan Road, 1B, which is off Market Street near Defy Gravity.

Are you open summers?

Currently we operate as a preschool for 18 month olds- 5 year olds from September-May with an optional summer extension. However, we are planning on offering a Spanish Immersion summer camp for ages 6 years -12 years in the summer of 2018. If you are interested in a Summer Camp, please indicate this on our Parent Survey, as this will help us with planning for next year.

Can I come see the school?

Yes! We would love for you and your child to visit. Please fill out our parent survey to request an appointment for a tour.

Should my child already speak Spanish?

Our program is great for children with no experience with Spanish as well as for children who already know Spanish. All daily activities are led in Spanish, so children will quickly learn by being immersed in the language each day in a fun and natural way. We do have both native English speaking and native Spanish speaking children in our program.

Is this program good for children who are native Spanish speakers?

Yes! Many children from native Spanish speaking homes where one or both parents speak Spanish begin to lose their Spanish when they start school. The parents often complain that the child refuses to speak Spanish either because they are hearing English all day or out of embarrassment. Our school provides a positive atmosphere where native Spanish speaking children will hear other children speaking Spanish and this will encourage them to continue using Spanish. We find that the native Spanish speakers help lead the class and become an example for the children who are native English speakers.

Will a Spanish Immersion Preschool hinder my child’s English language skills?

Reasearch shows the opposite effect! Most children who are educated in two languages have enhanced abilities in English, likely due to the changes that take place in the brain when a child becomes bilingual. Here in New Hanover County, students at the Forest Hills Spanish Immersion Elementary School program outperformed non-immersion students on state standardized testing at both the county and state level! Occasionally, very young children (ages 1-3) who are learning two languages will mix words when speaking but this is often sorted out before they begin elementary school.

Will my child be unable to communicate with me in English if they are learning Spanish at school?

In most cases, young children who are are learning a foreign language at school reserve use of the foreign language for the school environment. In other words, they associate Spanish language with school and their teachers and they associate English with at home.

Should I be concerned that my child will not speak English at all?

The true concern should be that they will not speak Spanish! Most children in our area are exposed to lots of English- at home, at church, on television, while shopping, eating out, etc. Given these circumstances, it would be highly unusual for a child to cease speaking English. Spanish immersion preschool provides the environment for your child to hear and use Spanish in a natural setting, increasing the chance that they will be fluent in Spanish and still maintain their English.

We are now accepting applications for the 2017- 2018 school year. Click here to begin the application process.