NORMAN, Okla. - Parlez-vous francais?
Students at the new Le Monde Charter School in Norman do!
"We wanted more for the children of Norman to have opportunity to embrace culture and diversity through language acquisition," said Loida Salmond of Le Monde Charter School.
Le Monde is a language-immersion school where students are surrounded in either French or Spanish. Educators call it rigorous immersion within a safe environment and say studies have shown being bilingual develops superior critical thinking skills.
"After getting a taste of what language immersion could be, we saw children thriving in that environment and as parents we knew that we had to do whatever it took to get it done," said Salmond.
Last week, parents and perspective parents got a tour of the school that has been open for just over a month. And, already, students are spending a majority of their time speaking in a foreign language.
"Right now, I'm doing about 70 percent Spanish and about 30 percent English, and hopefully next semester we can push it to 90," said teacher Ellia Lopez.
School administrators say they are giving their kids a global perspective and preparing them for an ever-increasing interdependent world economy.
"We are positioning our students to acquire life skills necessary to become very successful adults," said Salmond.