Spanish Immersion

Since 2006 Zeeland Christian has offered a total immersion program for students who want to become fully fluent in the Spanish language.

What is Immersion?

Immersion is a term used to describe a method of teaching languages. ZCS curriculum is based on a Total Immersion Model, in which the teacher speaks only in the target language, Spanish, throughout the lessons. Our teachers know that for many parents and children this will be the first time for learning another language. For that reason, they sing, dance, use picture cards, objects, and anything necessary in order to help with comprehension.

When can students join?

Students join the program in Threeschool, preschool, kindergarten or 1st grade. Every class is taught entirely in the Spanish language through 2nd grade. Yes, every class!

When/How is English Introduced?

  • Starting in third grade, the students learn their Social Studies curriculum in English. The teachers focus on English specific skills that students need to know in English, integrated into their Social Studies instruction.
  • Students are taught to read, write and converse in Spanish by being constantly immersed in the language.
  • By 5th grade, students are considered fluent when compared to a native speaking 5th grader.

How is Spanish supported beyond 5th grade?

  • Beginning in 6th grade, students enter the Secondary Continuing Immersion Program. The goal is to build on the communication skills learned in elementary school while expanding the academic vocabulary.  Students do that by spending 90+ minutes per day immersed in the Spanish language. The rest of the day is spent in traditional classes mixed in with the rest of the student body.
  • ZCS immersion students can continue their education at the high school level. Our sister school, Holland Christian High School, offers a continuing Spanish immersion program similar to our middle school immersion program. You can find out more about that program at here. Studies show that it’s important for students who want to retain the language to continue their education in it all the way through high school.

Students in our Spanish immersion program also receive the benefits of our Mandarin FLES program. Currently, students in 1st-4th grades receive Mandarin instruction 75-90 minutes a week. Research shows that after children learn a second language, it is considerably easier to learn a third or fourth language. Our Spanish immersion students are thrilled with the opportunity to learn a third language at school.

The best way to learn more about Spanish immersion? Call and schedule a tour. There is nothing like seeing and hearing the children in action!We recommend that families interested in Spanish immersion contact Jodi Pierce at jpierce@zcs.org.

Note: Space is limited in our Spanish immersion early childhood classes. However, students who enter the program in Threeschool are able to pre-register for Spanish immersion preschool class options.

Contact Immersion Director Jodi Pierce (jpierce@zcs.org) for more information.