Local school starts bilingual lessons early for young ones

CARTHAGE, Mo. – Saint Ann’s Catholic School in Carthage partnered with Notre Dame University to enhance its Bilingual Education Program.

Officials say the program focuses on teaching pre-schoolers how to write and speak both English and Spanish while staying true to their roots. “Let’s not make them get rid of their language. Let’s take the language they have and add to it so they’re not losing their identity. They’re not losing their cultural identity, their language identity. But we’re adding on to it. To give greater growth,” said Mikelle Cortez, Principle of St. Ann’s.

“Let’s not make them get rid of their language. Let’s take the language they have and add to it. They’re not losing their cultural identity or their language identity. But we’re adding onto it to give greater growth,” said Cortez. Cortez knows Spanish-only-speaking families can benefit from having their children enrolled in a bilingual program.

Officials say they are doing what they can to better meet students’ educational needs. “they need to know both languages, I feel like to even communicate just at home,” said Emily Marroquin, a parent, and worker at St. Ann’s.

As the Hispanic population grows in Carthage, St. Ann’s wants students to keep their roots while expanding their scope. St. Ann’s has more than 80% of students who identify as Hispanic or Latino.

St. Ann’s officials say they integrate bilingual lessons for older students as well. “And that will be the whole school year. Then the goal for next year is to move into our kindergarten room and start making it bilingual. So the kiddos who are in our preschool will continue and we’ll kind of build from there,” said Cortez.

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