This established program has over 30 years experience and continues to draw parents wishing to expand their child’s horizons. Children in the German Bilingual Program at Edmonton Public Schools learn German and English at the same time which builds fluency in both languages and gives students the opportunity to work towards internationally recognized certificates in German language studies (see Certification). Students require no previous knowledge of German for admission to Kindergarten or Grade 1. Admission to higher grades is based on assessment.
German bilingual students are taught the same curriculum as other students in the same grade level. At the elementary level, math, gym, art, and German language arts are taught in German. In junior high, students use German in their social studies and German language arts classes. At the senior high level, students have the opportunity to obtain AP certification for their language ability.
During German instructional time, the operating language of the classroom is German — whether the teacher or students are speaking.
Languages are not mixed, if possible. Subjects taught in German are grouped together in order to allow for a more natural language learning environment and to give students more time to think in German.
The teacher does not translate between English and German. Instead, the teacher facilitates understanding through the use of techniques such as gestures, mime, and appropriate intonation. Our teachers are expressive and animated, and use concrete materials and audio-visual aids. Students develop a passive vocabulary very quickly. Their active vocabulary also develops daily.
Children are encouraged to express themselves in German during German instructional class time, even when they believe they will make errors. Students are taught to identify their own errors and edit their work.
The philosophy of the German bilingual program is that no child should be afraid of making mistakes. Students who are less fluent will benefit from working with others who may be more fluent.