LAKE IN THE HILLS – Hoping to prepare future Community Unit School District 300 and Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 students for the districts’ dual-language programs, Lake in the Hills Preschool has started its own Spanish program.
The preschool’s Spanish enrichment program is in its third year, offering students ages 3 through 5 the chance to learn basic Spanish words before they get to kindergarten.
“Since we primarily serve District 300 and District 47 – along with District 158 – our program just gives them more of a leg up for those who choose the dual-language path,” preschool supervisor Lisa Knoeppel said.
The preschool’s 3-year-old students are learning various Spanish words, Knoeppel said, such as the names of colors, numbers and the days of the week. At the next level, Knoeppel said students are participating in daily lessons that are more conversational in nature.
“It’s not like a typical dual-language classroom,” Knoeppel said. “We have it set up so they are learning the basics of Spanish at a young age because they are native English speakers.”
The program is taught by instructor Shera Pollock, who is fluent in Spanish.
“I’ll typically say something in Spanish to them and translate it back to them in English,” Pollock said. “And it’s very exciting for me when they finally understand something and connect it.”
The program has 15 students enrolled in the pre-K class, which runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 12 students enrolled in the 3- to 4-year-olds class, which runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“This is something my husband and I always wanted our child to be exposed to,” said Heather Nelson, whose 5-year-old daughter is in her second year in the program. “When we had the chance to do the program or not, we decided for her to be a part of it because we wanted her to learn Spanish.”
Algonquin resident Heather Rasek said this program has been such a great influence on her 5-year-old son that she also plans for her 2-year-old son to join the program once he’s old enough.
“It’s just been so helpful,” Rasek said. “Tyler, my oldest son, has been able to comprehend more Spanish words because of this, and he loves the teachers over there.”