Dual Language Immersion

Sela PCS was founded on the premise that fluency in more than one language develops a greater ability to communicate with and understand other cultures. Bilingualism builds both stronger cognitive skills and greater empathy in students.

 

Research indicates that in order to gain fluency in a language, students need to spend significant time in an environment saturated in the language they are learning, this is the heart of language immersion.  At Sela PCS, students receive instruction in both English and Hebrew each day. Sela operates on a one-way immersion model. The majority of students at Sela are not native speakers of Hebrew, so all are learning their second (or third) language together. This makes creating an immersive environment essential to the development of Hebrew language skills for our students.

 

As a dual-language school committed to immersion, Sela PCS will help students achieve language proficiency in two languages – beginning with listening and speaking proficiency in the lower grades and incorporating reading and writing proficiency in the upper grades. To achieve this, Sela sets high learning standards for both English Language Arts and Hebrew Language, choosing and developing curricula that will provide its teachers with the instructional resources to successfully develop these skills and abilities in its students.

 

Hebrew is a unique target language because it serves as a model of an ancient language that has been revived as a living language in modern times. Hebrew is an entrance point to learning other Semitic languages such as Arabic and Amharic. Contemporary Israeli culture fosters characteristics and skills that empower children to be active global citizens. Modern Hebrew is a relatively easy language to learn as it was designed to be taught to large groups of recent immigrants to Israel. The regular structure and syntax of Hebrew makes its both fun and relatively easy to learn! 

 

Because mastery of the spoken and written language is critical to success in all subject areas, Sela PCS will engage a rigorous and balanced curriculum in both languages.

Pre-School (PK-3) and Pre-Kindergarten (PK-4)

In the pre-kindergarten classrooms, Sela PCS will use a 50/50 model of language immersion, meaning that half of the activities taking place in the classroom will take place in Hebrew and half of the activities taking place in the classroom will take place in English. Each early-childhood classroom will be staffed by one Hebrew-speaker and one English-speaker to implement this model. The classroom will be organized as a dual-language environment, with content and activities in the classroom focused on helping children acquire the vocabulary and proficiency in Hebrew and English that will prepare them for kindergarten. Approximately 50% of the day in pre-kindergarten will be set aside every day for English, which will ensure that the children are ready to enter kindergarten with skills for early literacy in English


Kindergarten through First Grade 

In kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms, Sela PCS will use a 50/50 model of language immersion, meaning that half of the activities taking place in the classroom will take place in Hebrew and half of the activities taking place in the classroom will take place in English. Each early-childhood classroom will be staffed by one Hebrew-speaker and one English-speaker to implement this model. The classroom will be organized as a dual-language environment, with content and activities in the classroom focused on helping children acquire the vocabulary and proficiency in Hebrew and English to prepare them for the next grade. Each target language will have a literacy block of instruction, while math, science and social studies will be taught in both languages of instruction.


Second through Fifth Grade

Students study in Hebrew in a foreign language model in grades 1 through 5. This means that students receive one hour-long literacy block in Hebrew each day taught by two Hebrew teachers using a combination of whole class instruction and more targeted, small group instruction. Israeli cultural studies are worked into the English school day through social studies and science lessons that explore Israel and its culture. The English literacy block, math, science and social studies are taught in English. 

 

As Sela is able to better assess the efficacy of the 50/50 model of Hebrew immersion, the goal of the school is to extend this into the upper grades beyond kindergarten.