My daughter starts kindergarten today. It's definitely emotional. My firstborn is a baby no more.
As I mentioned in my first post a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been kind of concerned about what being immersed in English most of her waking hours will mean to her bilingualism. At this early stage, I guess only time will tell.
While I love the fact that the elementary school she’s attending is in our neighborhood and we can walk to get there, it wasn’t my first choice. There’s nothing wrong with the school...except that it’s not bilingual. Unfortunately, the few dual language immersion options in our city are either way too far from our home or financially prohibitive.
I wanted badly for my daughter to attend a program like this. I’ve not only reported on the benefits of dual language immersion for both SpanglishBaby and the local Spanish newspaper, but I’m also the product of one such program.
I was bilingual by the time I arrived in this country as a teenager thanks to the enormous effort on my parent’s side to send me to a British school back in Lima, Perú. There, I was taught in English most of the day and Spanish, obviously, came naturally. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
While the transition between Lima and Miami was not without pain, being bilingual spared me a lot of heartache. My bilingualism has opened more doors than I ever imagined and I know bilingual opportunities are not going away any time soon.
As soon as I had children, I knew I wanted to provide the same type of education for them, but we live in a city that doesn’t offer a lot of options in that area. So even though I tried to work out all kinds of different scenarios to see if it was doable to wake our daughter up at the crack of dawn and haul her across town with enough time to get to work at a decent hour, I failed. In the end, for everyone’s sanity and well being, I chose the school within walking distance.
I hope I don’t regret it.
Roxana A. Soto is an Emmy-winning Peruvian-born, Denver-based bilingual journalist and the co-founder of SpanglishBaby.com.
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