Frequently Asked Questions
Wilmington Bilingual Preschool is a 100% Spanish Immersion Preschool and private kindergarten in Wilmington, NC. Our goal is to provide a safe, caring and educational environment for children to be immersed in Spanish. We have four beautiful, spacious classrooms for ages 18 months – 6 years.
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 comfortable with the language. 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.
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.
We accept children 18 months – 6 years old in our 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.
We are located at 100 Spartan Road, 1B, which is off Market Street near Defy Gravity.
We are open all year. Our official school year runs September – May with an optional summer extension. In order to maintain their Spanish language skills, most of our students continue their regular schedule during the summer but we also offer the option to take the summers off. Outside students can participate in our summer camp from June-August, based on availability.
Yes! We would love for you and your child to visit. Please fill out our parent survey to request an appointment for a tour.
Our program is fabulous 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, during their other extracurricular activities, 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.
The best way to support your child is to continue helping them grow and develop their English language skills. Language is controlled by the same part of the brain, so children who are strong in a second language tend to also be strong in their first language. Parents should read to their children in English as much as possible and expose them to many activities such as visits to local museums and children’s museums, aquariums, zoos, library story time and special educational events. Enrollment in activities like sports, dance, art classes and gymnastics help their physical development as well as their English language skills. Have conversations with your children and offer limited screen time and for educational purposes only (there are some great educational websites that teach reading and early math skills such as starfall.com.
Once enrolled in our program, we recommend that parents take an interest in the art that children bring home each day and talk to them about their school day. We also send home monthly playlists of music that children can listen to that include the songs that we are learning. Parents can sing along with their child in the car or at home and ask what the songs are about.
Absolutely not! There are many children who participate and achieve language proficiency without parents who speak Spanish. However, it is very rewarding to understand some of the things that your child may be saying in Spanish. Parents are welcome to practice their Spanish with our friendly native Spanish-speaking teachers at drop-off or pick-up time. Or you may also sing along to our monthly playlists with your child. Finally, here is a blog post we did that shares top Spanish language learning resources for pre-teens and adults. There are many websites, You Tube channels and podcasts that teach Spanish these days.
Here are some fantastic links:
Top 10 Most Consistent Findings from Research on Foreign Language Immersion– This info comes from the CARLA Center at University of Missouri (Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition) There are many other fantastic and detailed articles on this site:
CNN Article about the Benefits of Raising a Bilingual Child:
Short Articles About Bilingualism from the American Speech Language Hearing Association:
Tips for Helping a Child Become Bilingual:
Second Language Acquisition Process:
Advantages of Being Bilingual:
15 Reasons for Kids to Learn a Foreign Language:
We accept applications throughout the school year.Click here to begin the application process.
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