Parents Keep Language Learning Alive at their Schools

The Power of Parents to Influence their Schools

Hola! And Nihao! That’s what parents in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 are hoping to hear from their children this year. When their school board eliminated the district’s world language program after funding ran out, parents raised their voices to find an alternative. The creative solution: using a local language instruction company, Language Stars, to provide weekly lessons in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese at the schools. Language Stars is a Chicago-based company that provides high-energy, full immersion language programs for children ages 1-10. Founder Leslie Lancry, who is fluent in five languages herself, started the company in 1998 with the mission of fostering a future generation of multilingual Americans.

Through their Language Stars at School program, the company will provide the teachers, workbooks and study materials for the classes. Children in grades K-5 can participate in classes before and after school or during the lunch period. The classes will be parent-funded, and more than 300 parents have shown interest in the program.

Another company, Li’l Language Scholars, has been working with schools and day cares in the Northern Suburbs to provide a flexible, pre-programmed Spanish language curriculum. Founder Paula Fortini created “Language in a Box” kits that include everything needed to implement a language program in a childcare center or preschool. In addition to the kit, Lil Scholars offers local Spanish classes, online homeschool classes and special seminars for Girl Scout troops to earn badges.

With our increasingly global world, today’s parents recognize the value of speaking a second language and are willing to find creative solutions when their schools can no longer offer these programs. Muy bueno!

This is just one example of how involved parents continue to make a difference in their children’s education.

We asked our Facebook readers what they thought about the school board’s decision to eliminate foreign languages in schools. Here’s what they had to say:

Ambar Spitz: Detrimental to the future of these kids. Foreign language should be taught starting in Kindergarten, in my opinion.

Siobhan Hinkley Richards: My son starts dual kindergarten next week.

Carrie Layne: Great place to save $!

Didi Pacheco: it’s a loss to our children’s future! very disappointed resident!

Linda Hahn Zaveson: i never took a foreign language in school. Seems silly to me. My kids take German in high school.

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