Feb. 7, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
A handful of pre-K locations in the Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst neighborhoods will begin to offer instruction in Spanish as part of an expanded dual language programs initiative announced by the city earlier this week.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced on Monday that the city will be rolling out 47 new Pre-K dual language programs in schools across the five boroughs this fall.
The new programs, which will bring the total number available across the city to 107, will include the city’s first French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew and Japanese language programs.
In addition to the new languages, existing programs will continue to offer students the opportunity to study in Bengali, Chinese, Italian, Russian and Spanish.
Both Queens and Brooklyn will each see 16 new dual language programs, with six in the Bronx, eight in Manhattan, and one on Staten Island at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Of the selected Queens locations, seven are in the area, including BWY Preschool in Jackson Heights; PS 19 Marino Jeantet, PS 127 Aerospace Science Magnet School, and Atonement Preschool–all in Elmhurst; and Sesame Sprout, Corona Friends and Mi Nuevo Mundo in Corona. Little Friends School in Sunnyside and the Long Island City YMCA will also offer Spanish programs.
The new programs are an addition to the existing dual language Spanish programs in locations like Elm Tree Elementary School in Corona, P.S. 222 in Jackson Heights, and P.S. 228 and the District 30 Pre-K Center on 23rd Avenue, both in East Elmhurst.
The borough, which previously only had programs for Spanish and Bengali, has also added three Chinese programs to two schools in Flushing and College Point and another in Fresh Meadows.
Other Queens schools on the list seeing the program for the first time are in neighborhoods like College Point, Far Rockaway, and Dutch Kills.
“Research has shown that multilingual education positively impacts cognitive and social development, particularly when it begins at an early age,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education, in a statement. “The Dual Language Program will open doors to a wide world of academic and cultural enrichment for New York City’s students.”
The Dual Language classrooms are typically filled with a 50:50 split of students whose home language is the language being taught and students who are English-proficient. Teachers then instruct in both languages.
Instruction is held in both languages, and students in Pre-K Dual Language classes may continue on the Dual Language track in Kindergarten and beyond.
Students who are enrolled in the Pre-K Dual Language program will then have the opportunity to continue on in one of the 545 bilingual programs across the city for grades K-12 teaching 13 different languages.
Dual language programs have seen immense growth in recent years, with approximately 200 programs opening or expanding since the 2013-2014. Roughly 40,000 students are already enrolled in these programs.
“Building the fairest big city in America starts in the classroom,” de Blasio said. “We believe every child deserves the same strong start which is why we’re providing New Yorkers in every zip code with access to early childhood education. By offering even more dual-language Pre-K programs across the five boroughs, we’re readying our children for the global economy of the future.”
Applications for the free, full-day programs opened on Monday. Families can view available early childhood programs and apply online at MySchools.nyc, over the phone at 718-935-2009, or in person at a Family Welcome Center.