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Did you know that numerous studies have shown that multilingual learning benefits students’ brain function, as well as their social skills? Many educators tout the benefits of language-immersive education, and there are plenty of good reasons to consider a bilingual, multicultural learning environment for your child. This is why the German American School of Portland (GASP) is expanding the idea of language immersion, with a segue program called “Infusion.”
GASP is known for providing students with exceptional bilingual learning experiences, cross-cultural understanding and the tools and perspectives needed to actively participate as world citizens. The school is also known for its commitment to educational innovation and creative thinking when it comes to meeting the needs of students and families.
Recognizing that a fully immersive second language experience is not the right choice for every family, the school has introduced Infusionas the latest addition to their creative, student-focused approach to bilingual learning. This fall, GASP will kick off the new Infusion program at the kindergarten level, with plans to add new grade-level offerings each year.
Chelsea West, kindergarten and Infusion teacher at GASP, explains how Infusionwill benefit students. “Too often, children aren’t exposed to a second language before middle school, and by then they’ve missed so much. The Infusion program will allow us to expose more children at an earlier age to the fun and benefit of a multicultural learning experience.”
In the Infusion program, the primary content and lessons will be offered in English and complemented with German language instruction, exposing young learners to a second language and allowing them to adapt to it in a gradual way, without the intensity of full second language immersion.
West explains, “Language can be fun, and there are enormous, positive development effects of learning a second language at an early age. In Infusion, students will have exposure to different subjects and a wide variety of activities in German language, as well as being introduced to German vocabulary during shared time with our immersion students.” She goes on to say, “Infusion students will come together for music, read-aloud time and physical education, with the overall goal that they’ll receive about 20 percent of their instruction in German and 80 percent in English.”
For parents who desire a multilingual experience for their child in an individually paced environment, Infusion may be the perfect fit.
Complementing the Infusion program, next year GASP will become an International Baccalaureate candidate school. This will involve adopting a student inquiry–based approach to learning, where kids are encouraged to ask questions, conduct research and express what they learn in their own individual and unique ways.
“Central to our educational philosophy and approach is the idea that students take ownership of their own learning process,” West adds. “These two new programs, Infusion and International Baccalaureate, underscore the unique and far-reaching benefits of what we offer students at the German American School.”