D attends a Spanish Immersion preschool two days a week. This is his second week and he loves it. The only part of the day that he does not like is the 15 minute English circle time. The director who teaches this mini-lesson told me today that D became angry and told her "No me hables en ingles. Yo hablo espanol." (Don't speak to me in English. I speak Spanish.) He then proceeded to cover his ears during the story in English. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not think that there is anything wrong with speaking English. I am a native English speaker myself. I am thrilled, however, that Spanish is so important to D. I was so afraid that D would fall into the same trap that many Hispanic children growing up in the U.S. fall into. I have seen many cases of children of friends and family members that speak and understand Spanish until they enter school. The English influence of school and friends seems to be so strong that many children begin to refuse to speak Spanish. Many of the parents try to maintain the language in the home but eventually give up. Just from the limited contact with English television, neighbors, and my family, D has picked up quite a bit of English. I was amazed the last time my mother and niece came to visit to hear him speaking to them in complete grammatically correct sentences. There is no doubt that D will speak English seeing as we live in the U.S. However, maintaining his Spanish will be the challenge. So far I think that we must be doing something right.
I am the lucky mother of two wonderful little boys. My husband and I are both fluent Spanish speakers and are raising our boys bilingual in Spanish and English. I moved to teaching part-time high school Spanish when I had my last child so that I could spend more time with my boys.