Camden Pre-K offers dual language class

With 98 percent of their incoming 187 students from Spanish-speaking households, Camden’s Saint Anthony of Padua School has created a new program aimed at strengthening students’ proficiency in the languages of Spanish and English, beginning with its youngest class.

The 13 students (at press time) in the Pre-K 4-year-old preschool program will have full-day “dual language” classroom education, said Dr. Mary Burke, Saint Anthony of Padua School’s principal.

“Initially, the teaching will be 80 percent in Spanish, and 20 percent in English,” she continued, adding that near the school year’s end, the language breakdown will be 50/50.

As well, K-8 students will also be getting “acclimated to both languages,” to excel in reading, writing and speaking.

With Saint Anthony’s school families originating from Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, the initiative will “honor their culture,” she said.

The school has, and will continue to hold multicultural events such as the “Three Kings Day” or salsa dancing lessons.

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