The number of New York public schools that offer a French-English bilingual program is growing. PS 3 “The Bedford Village” in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant just announced the opening of a new bilingual class, beginning in September for the 2014-2015 school year.
“This need for a bilingual program can be explained by the increase of our francophone population from northern and western Africa. These parents want their children to learn French so that they can speak it when they return to their home country,” explains Kristina Beecher, the principal of PS 3. “We were also contacted by anglophone parents, so then we conducted a survey of our school and organized conversations and workshops about the bilingual program for the parents.”
The school of 513 students will become the 8th public institution to offer immersion classes in two languages. The program will count as the first year of Kindergarten, and supplementary levels will open for all years up to 5th grade. “We would like to offer a Pre-K class in the future,” says Mrs. Beecher. The program is open to all New York students, regardless of their school district.
“As a school community,” adds the director, “we decided that it was important to establish this bilingual program because of the several studies on the cognitive advantages linked with learning multiple languages.”