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Kindergarten Preparation – With A Twist

Kindergarten preparation takes on a whole new twist in J&J mom Elizabeth’s family this year. Learn what makes her daughter’s transition to kindergarten unique.
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This school year marks many changes in our lives. Our daughter Victoria (“Tori”) starts full day kindergarten next month. It’s a big milestone for all of us.

Tori is well prepared for this new chapter. She already has a great educational foundation, having attended daycare at the Bright Horizons facility on the Johnson & Johnson Raritan campus. She attended a full day pre-K school, so we’re confident that the long days of kindergarten will not be a problem for her. But Tori isn’t just facing the challenge of a new school, new routines, and new friends like the typical kindergartener. She is attending a Spanish Immersion program!

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Tori will spend approximately 70+ % of her day being taught in Spanish, with the goal of fluency by the 1st or 2nd grade. She will continue in this program until 4th grade and then transition back into an English program while continuing Spanish lessons daily.

Tori’s pre-K program had daily Spanish lessons and she already knows many words and loves to try to “speak” Spanish (watching kids’ movies in Spanish is our current daily ritual).But we have apprehension nonetheless. Why?! Neither my husband nor I speak Spanish!

So why did we chose this program? We realized we had an amazing opportunity to expose our daughter to a language right away. I did not start another language until high school and I was never able to master it. My husband had a similar experience. We believe that not only will Tori learn another language, she will be challenging her whole thought process and promoting mental flexibility.

We also met with Tori’s new kindergarten teacher to learn more about the program’s benefits and challenges. She graduated from the first Spanish Immersion class in our area, and believes so strongly in the program that she decided to teach Spanish and share the program to even more children. She reassured us that there will be many resources available and that she will always support us.

I am sure that Tori will be successful and that all of the butterflies I’m feeling are just normal for new kindergarten parents. I am also fortunate to have so many colleagues at Johnson & Johnson who speak Spanish. They have agreed to be on speed dial 24/7 to answer my questions. And who knows? Perhaps Tori’s new adventures will inspire me to finally learn Spanish too.

Tori is so thrilled to start her big girl classes and grow up. It will be a bittersweet August 25th when we say “Adiós, te amamos mucho!”

Also be sure to check out Anna’s story of the first day of kindergarten for her son, Nicolas, along with Christina’s perspective on preparing for kindergarten for her twin boys.

Elizabeth Shanahan works in the Quality Group for Janssen Pharmaceuticals. She is currently a first year Bridges associate working in Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing Sciences as a Technical Integrator. She lives with her husband and 2 daughters, Kymberly (22), and Victoria (5), in Pennsylvania.

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