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West Valley students get an 'Early Start' on becoming bilingual

West Valley students get an 'Early Start' on becoming bilingual.

YAKIMA, Wash.- Learning a new language is like learning a life skill. It's a whole lot easier when you start young.

The early start program in west valley allows students to choose from 30 different languages. From Arabic to Vietnamese and everything in between. All you have to do is select a language, complete the demo and you’re ready to learn a new language.

This is all possible because of the West Valley Virtual Academy, which has 200 students all across the state of Washington. The provider for the online schooling uses Rosetta Stone for its students and that gives those in the classroom use of it as well.

Mike Brophy is the superintendent of the school district and said parents from Pakistan and Thailand came up to him, thanking him for the chance to be able to speak to their kids in their native languages.

"It was really fun to see people be able to pass on their heritage through their language and a choice that their 3rd or 4th grader can take before school every day," Brophy said.

Third and fourth graders in the program are exposed to other languages and the cultures that come with it.

Stephanie Melton has two sons in early start and both of them are learning German. Her family has German roots but wasn't sure if her kids would want to go to a computer lab instead of the playground.

"They're not looking as school and learning they are looking at it as something fun and they are super excited about it," she said.

Charlie Melton has an older sister and father who both speak German and couldn't wait to let them know about his progress in the first couple weeks.

"I came home and told him that I knew ‘good morning’ in German and he helped me be actually fluent and good at saying it," he said.

Students who aren't interested in learning a new language can choose to work on their math, reading or English for those that are still learning it.

However, Brophy said a majority of them plan on becoming bilingual.

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