How can English speaking families benefit from a Hebrew immersion program?
During its years of operation, faimiles from different backgrounds and different levels of exposure to Hebrew chose to enroll their children in a full Hebrew immersion preschool.
In my article, "Why Hebrew for Hebrew Spekers" I wrote about a few points that usually come up when it comes to choosing a full Hebrew immersion preschool for Hebrew speaking families.
The rationale is slightly different for non-Hebrew speaking families, and in this article I elaborate more about it.
Apart from the Israeli families, we also see a variety of non-Hebrew speaking families who find Gan Gurim to be the right place for their child:
Mixed-language families: families that include one parent who is a native Hebrew speaker and one parent who either doesn’t speak Hebrew at all, or for whom Hebrew is a second language. These families want to make sure their children are fluent in Hebrew, can communicate with their extended family in Israel, and feel connected to Judaism and Israel. In mixed-language families, each parent generally speaks in his or her native language. Since there is much more exposure to English than to Hebrew in the USA, these families want to support their child’s ability to communicate meaningfully with his or her Hebrew-speaking parent.
Non-Hebrew speaking Jewish day school families: Some families who do not ordinarily speak Hebrew at home but want to provide their children with an advantage before entering local Jewish day schools like the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School or the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy. Children who had previous exposure to Hebrew in a full immersion class have excellent speaking and comprehension skills and will be placed in more advanced classes when they continue to the Jewish day schools. Long-term, they will be able to achieve a higher level of proficiency than children with no previous Hebrew immersion exposure.
Non-Hebrew speaking public school families: Families who simply want to encourage a connection to Judaism through Hebrew language, Israel and the kibbutz-style experience. Many of these families plan to send their children to public schools, supplemented with synagogue-based Hebrew school. These children will also have the significant advantage of starting these programs with a higher level of Hebrew proficiency and comprehension.