A basic principle at WIS is that students benefit from being taught in two languages. Fluency in more than one language opens not only greater possibilities of communication but also greater understanding of other cultures.
- Students in Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten follow a language immersion program in French or Spanish.
- Students in Grades 1 to 5 spend half of their academic class time working in English and the other half in either French or Spanish.
- French as an Additional Language (FAL) and Spanish as an Additional Language (SAL) are open to applicants to Grades 2 to 5, even if they do not already speak French or Spanish.
The WIS approach allows students to learn through language and about language. Students learn to understand, speak, read, and write effectively in both languages.
In Middle School, students with sufficient language proficiency in French and Spanish continue to pursue a dual language program; in addition to a language and literature class, they take humanities (history and geography) in their non-English language. Students moving into Grade 6 also have the option to take Chinese as an elective course. All Upper School students take English and at least one other language. Over half of WIS students earn a bilingual IB Diploma.
The ability to communicate in more than one language facilitates an individual’s movement beyond the first language and home culture, increases awareness of the world, and enables one to participate more fully as an international citizen.
Need more convincing?
- Consider this New York Times online forum discussion in response to Dr. Lawrence Summers' (former president of Harvard University) suggestion that investing time in learning a language other than English might not be beneficial.
- This New York Times article explains "Why Bilinguals are Smarter."
- The Washington Post highlighted the benefits of bilingualism in this article.