A Vote for Language Learning in Connecticut’s Elementary Schools

The Board of Education in Darien, Connecticut recently passed a vote to allow a $320,000 program that would bring foreign language curriculum to elementary schools.

According to the Darien Times, The program was delayed due to the economy but many immersion-based programs have popped up in the town of Darien. These programs include LinguaKids, a company specializing in teaching children foreign languages; Franc-O Fun, a program of French for children; and Playdate, an at-home play school for children that created a Spanish immersion program for two-year olds.

Understanding the importance of language learning, schools sought a program proposal in 2007. However, there were disagreements regarding the rigorousness and structure of the language classes in the proposal. The proposal was revised and, with a 6-1 vote at the Board of Education meeting, the proposal was passed but is unclear if it will stay depending on spring budget cuts. It is not clear if the program will be implemented school-wide or if it will be phased in by grade level. As well, the program is not curriculum-based, with teachers emphasizing culture and basic learning.

"We're trying to get as much as we can from the program without making it overwhelmingly expensive," said Assistant Superintendant Dr. Judith Pandolfo in the Darien Times article.

Though the future of the language program is unclear in Darien, Connecticut, the vote for the program can already be considered a success. Advocates of language learning such as the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language agree that it is important to learn languages early and that language learning has a multitude of benefits including increased job opportunities in a globalized economy.

To read more about this issue, read the article in the Darien Times.