LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — One classroom at Lawrenceburg Primary School is helping students learn Spanish through song and speech.
"In the morning coming in we say, 'Hi,'" principal Tammy Gregory said. "We also say, 'Hola.'"
From hola to adios, 60 kindergartners and 53 first graders are immersed in the Spanish language and culture for the first part of their day.
"The more languages you know, the better for you," Spanish teacher Neus Mari Beltran said.
Beltran is one of the two teachers brought to Lawrenceburg from Spain to implement the immersion teaching program. The idea behind the class is that it allows the students to absorb the language by only speaking Spanish.
"I was really surprised because after one month, they could say from one to 100 numbers, so I was really impressed (with) them," Beltran said.
The other part of the students' day is spent learning in English.
"I think of the opportunities they may have that we may not have had because they know more than one language," Gregory said.
The program was launched after about 18 months of planning. Each visiting Spanish teacher is paired up with an English teacher.
"They're working together very closely to monitor the standards that are being taught," said Andrea Spaeth, Lawrenceburg Community Schools director of student services.
The program, available from kindergarten to fifth grade, is made possible by a planning grant from the Indiana Department of Education.