A Multi-cultural Language School for Children
We are now enrolling for the 2011-2012 school year.
- French Immersion M,T,W,TH,F
- Spanish Immersion M,T,W,TH,F
- We are now enrolling for our summer programs as well
For our summer programs:
June 27th - July 8th
July 11th - July 22nd
July 25th - August 5th
You may choose to send your child for 2, 3, or 5 mornings a week.
Currently the Caterpillar Preschool includes a full immersion program in the French and Spanish Languages for 2 ½ to 5 year olds. Both classes are taught by highly-experienced native French or Spanish speaking teachers. Each lead teacher is aided by a native-speaking assistant teacher, and employs a fun, play-based and full immersion curriculum appropriate for pre-school age children.
Our class sizes are small and have multiple ages in them. This allows for more individual teacher attention, and for the older children to help younger children, giving everyone a learning responsibility in the classroom.
2011-2012 School Calendar
||First Day of Class
||No Class — Columbus Day
||31- Nov 4
||Parent- Teacher Conferences
||No Class Veteran's Day
||No Class Thanksgiving Break
||19- Jan 2, 2012
||No Class Winter Break
||No Class — Martin L. King, Jr. Day
||Parent- Teacher Conferences
||No Class Presidents' Day
||No Class Spring Break
||No Class — Memorial Day
||Last day of Class
/> The Caterpillar Preschool has evolved from several successful programs for young children hosted at Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church at Tenley Circle in upper Northwest DC. These programs have included language immersion classes by CommuniKids, summer day camps which offered Spanish and French, and a small cooperative preschool known as the Caterpillar "Co-op." The Co-op began as a parent-directed, play-based informal activity. When it began to develop into a more structured Spanish immersion program, Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church applied to the Board of Zoning Adjustment in 2007 for the necessary zoning approval for an organized child development center. The application was approved in 2008, and an expanded program (including French immersion as well as the existing co-op Spanish classes) was licensed by the Office of the State Secretary of Education in 2009.
Why should my child learn a second language when they are so young?
The brain is able to learn a new language most efficiently in early childhood. Experts agree that the earlier a child is exposed to and begins to learn a new language the better. In infancy, even short periods of interpersonal exposure to a new language can make a big impact on brain development.
Those that have studied another language; score higher on standardized tests in math and reading, have increased creativity, mental flexibility and better listening skills. Bilinguals have lower rates of dementia.
Researchers have discovered that children who learn a world language outside of their native tongue have a multitude of cognitive benefits. On standardized tests in reading, language arts and mathematics, they outscored those who had not studied a foreign language. SAT scores were significantly higher in both the verbal and math sections. These scores also increased in correlation with the increase in the number of years the foreign language was studied. Children that have studied a foreign language have enhanced listening skills and memory, greater cognitive development in areas of creativity, divergent thinking and higher order thinking skills, and mental flexibility. Moreover, they advance more rapidly in these cognitive abilities. Children that have studied a foreign language also are more open to and have a greater appreciation of other cultures. Additionally, these children have improved self-concept and sense of achievement.
- Occupational options increase with the addition of second and third language skills.
- Learning another language promotes an understanding and appreciation of the arts, sciences, literature and other aspects of a culture.
- Learning another language allows for a deeper pleasure of travel to countries that speak that language.
- Learning another language provides for the ability to communicate with an entire group of people that you would otherwise not be able to.
The children are in a total immersion classroom and our curriculum is play based. Our goals are to provide a nurturing environment and make learning a language fun! All of our teachers are native speakers and have teaching qualifications and experience. The teachers interact with the children only in the target language except in emergency situations, or in the case of certain behavioral issues, English will be spoken. However for the inappropriate behaviors, the teachers will speak English to the children and afterward the target language.
A child's day may include art, crafts, music and singing, stories, active outdoor play, and many other enjoyable and creative activities. Our goal is to make learning French or Spanish exciting and fun, allowing children to learn through play, not noticing that they are learning a (new) language.
Our classes are small so we can offer individual attention. Our classes have multiple ages giving everyone in the classroom a responsibility to learn and help teach the others.
Our goal is to give education opportunities to all children, which is why we offer a strong immersion program at an affordable cost. If some families are unable to pay the tuition, scholarships are available.
- The school admits children without regard to race, color, religion, national and/or ethnic origin.
- Please speak with us about our toilet training policy.
- The School is open to children aged 2.5 to 5 years old.
The children have lunch at school. Lunch is a great time for children to keep learning either French or Spanish. We describe what each of us has for lunch. It is also a good time to learn about manners.
|No. of Days
We follow the DC Public School System for emergency closings:
- Late openings and emergency closings are announced on most radio stations after 6:00 a.m.
- When public schools are closed because of weather, we will be closed.
- When public schools have a two hour delayed opening, we will be closed.
- When public schools close early, we will close at the regular time.
Typical daily schedule
- 9:15-9:30 arrival / free play
- 9:30-9:45 – circle time
- 9:45-10:00 – sing songs
- 10:00-10:15 – snack
- 10:15-11:00 – activities art and craft
- 11:00- 11:30 – outdoor play
- 11:30-11:45 – reading
- 11:45-12:15 – lunch
- 12:15-12:30 – preparation for dismissal
For more information on the preschool and how to enroll, please email or call (202) 237-1799.