Language immersion program on Upper West Side teaches pre-school kids dual languages

Seventeen years ago, La Escuelita pre-school on the Upper West Side began a Spanish-language immersion program, for students ranging in age from 2 to 5 years old. 

“Two moms who were looking for their children to be exposed to the Spanish language who weren’t native Spanish speakers decided to create a center. They had a group first, and then it developed into a program,” said Emily Marmolejos, Educational Director at La Escuelita.

Spanish is spoken 90 percent of the time in the program, with English making up the remaining 10 percent.

For Jonelli Borden, who is from Belize while her husband is from Montreal, giving her 4-year-old son the ability to be bilingual was a necessity. 

“We wanted him to be in an environment that was representative of our community that took different cultures into consideration and a big way that you can do that is through language,” Borden said. 


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