Have Twins, Will Travel

Raising Bilingual Kids – Preschool

Somerville, Mass – The twins are turning four this spring, and it’s time to make some decisions about next year. Are we going to keep them at the wonderful, nurturing, supportive, private preschool where they have been learning Spanish for the past year? Or are we going to save $16K and send them to public school?

We never intended to send the twins to a fancy private preschool. But the programs for three-year-olds in Somerville were limited, so we had to look around for other options.
We chose their current school because it is close to our house and it is relatively affordable (although only 12 hours a week). The language immersion program was an added bonus, which supported our efforts to raise bilingual kids.


As it turned out, we fell in love with this school because, well, mostly because the twins fell in love with this school. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming; the teachers are nurturing and supportive (for kids as well as parents); and yes, the twins have begun singing songs, reciting words and occasionally speaking spontaneously in Spanish. It has been everything I hoped for, and more.
I love that the parents are invited to a weekly assembly, where the classes sing songs in their respective languages. I love that the kids cook and try new foods every week. I love that the teachers took a leading role in toilet training the twins (because god knows, I was not getting anywhere on my own). And I love that the twins are crazy about their teachers and several of the kids in their class. Daddio and I love this place. The twins love this place. Why would we mess with that?
I can think of 16,000 reasons…
Money aside, this is a complicated issue. Back in Somerville, there is a beautiful, new Early Childhood Education Center that local parents rave about, and it practically guarantees a place for my twins, now that they will be four. Even better, the neighborhood school–also a brand new facility–now has a preschool classroom too. These are state-of-the-art facilities with excellent teachers, and most importantly, they are right here in the community, serving the families that we see at the park and at the farmer’s market and on our street.
But it’s definitely public school. The class sizes are bigger than at their current school. The places are more institutional. And–at least for now–there is no Spanish program.
On the other hand, 45% of the student body is Hispanic.
I never expected this to be a difficult decision. But I guess it’s a good problem, as it means we have several viable options. ¿Que hacer?

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