We’re the Van Lentes – my husband Andy and I (Meghan) have two boys – Keean (age 8) and Zeke (age 4). I first heard about Spanish Immersion when I was a teacher at a small Christian school in Battle Creek. Keean was attending 3’s preschool there at the time and loved the friends and teachers, but was already complaining about being bored in school. I attended the Christian Schools International teacher convention and heard a presentation by add.a.lingua which told about all the benefits of immersion language education – cross brain development, complex thinking skills, not to mention developing a second language as a child. I really got excited about the idea of Keean joining that – and heard that there was a school offering a Spanish immersion program in Kalamazoo close to where we lived.
My husband Andy wasn’t convinced right away and had questions about how we would help him with homework and if he’d ever learn to read in English. But we checked it out, and decided to enroll him for 4’s preschool the next year. Now he’s in 3rd grade (no, he doesn’t complain much about being bored anymore – well except when he has homework – and yes, can read in English also) and his 4 year old brother Zeke just started preschool in the Spanish immersion program this fall.
I’m a teacher at Kalamazoo Christian now, in the 5th and 6th grades. So I teach the 6th grade Spanish Immersion students during their English social studies block. And it’s been so much fun to see how they have developed throughout the program and the strong base they have in both languages to read, write, speak, and interact on so many topics. I’m excited for my own kids to continue in the program and develop more confidence in both languages.
One of the areas that I have been surprised about and loved since Keean joined the program was his exposure to such a wide range of cultural ideas and opportunities. He has teachers from Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Mexico who help him have a broader understanding of God, of our world, and of how to think aboutinternational and local every day issues that kids encounter. I love the diversity that the Spanish immersion program has brought to the school, and I love that all the Kalamazoo Christian School kids benefit from it every day.