The dual language elementary school classroom

dual language learning - English and SpanishDancing Moose is not introducing a new concept with its Dual Language English/Spanish classroom, but it is certainly taking advantage of the momentum of quality programs around the country that are capitalizing on children’s enhanced creativity and analytical thinking of a dual language program.

Leading researchers in dual language programs, Virginia P. Collier and Wayne P. Thomas, have documented that children exposed to a second language learn at a more rapid rate. Bilingual researcher Ellen Bialystok of York University in Toronto stated that:

“Several studies have linked bilingualism to improved working memory, which is associated with reading and math skills.”

In research conducted at Nanjing University in China, bilingual seven year-old children outperformed their monolingual peers on two working memory tests—one requiring them to recall and rearrange a series of numbers and the other to retrace a pattern of hops made my an animated frog on a computer screen.

Researchers say that the best way to become proficient in a second language is to start young and practice often (Scientific American Mind, July/August, 2011).

Preschool and kindergarten is an ideal time for children to begin to experience the advantages of dual language instruction.

We look forward to launching our new Dual Language Classroom at Dancing Moose this fall.

The new elementary math program at Dancing Moose Montessori School

math symbolsNew research from psychologists at the University of Missouri (UM) confirms the importance of knowing basic mathematics by first grade in order to be successful in math in fifth grade.

The three basic competencies vital to success are:

  1. Numbers
  2. Counting
  3. Low-Level Arithmetic

Dancing Moose has had a strong emphasis on basic mathematics skills incorporating the hands-on Montessori materials to the abstract numbers.

We are happy to introduce a new Math Expressions Program that will add to our Montessori Math and be initiated this year in Kindergarten, first, and second grades.

After students understand basic math facts and counting, the new program will:

  • Teach them to express math operations verbally
  • Teach them to express math operations in writing
  • Provide a solid foundation in general education studies

According to David Geary, UM’s Curator’s Professor of Psychological Sciences,

“Math is critical for success in many fields, and the United States is not doing a great job of teaching math.” Further he states, “In order to improve basic instruction, we have to know what to instruct.”

Dancing Moose is excited to meet the challenge of helping students not only recognize numbers and counting, but to work toward foundations of mathematical expressions.