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Spanish language instruction will expand to 12 more elementary schools at Defense Department schools in the Pacific this fall.

Spanish lessons at those schools will be offered in grades K-1, while the eight Pacific schools that began the program last fall will add Spanish in grades 2-3.

Students are taught 30 minutes of Spanish, three times a week.

“It’s our belief that if we give kids a taste of this at a young age they’re going to be naturally stimulated to pursue other languages when they get older,” said Dr. Nancy Bresell, director of Department of Defense Dependent Schools-Pacific.

The goal is to eventually roll out the program to all 27 elementary schools in DODDS-Pacific, Bresell said, but no additional funding is currently in the works.

The Spanish classes are part of Foreign Language in Elementary Schools, an initiative that coincides with the U.S. military’s goal to train more servicemembers in foreign languages.

Bresell said the classes are taught in Spanish exclusively. “They use words over and over again until the kids get it,” she said.

Whether Spanish will be offered at every primary grade level in the Pacific depends on staffing, Bresell said.

In many countries in Europe, children are learning one or two languages in addition to their native language, she said.

“I don’t think it’s off the wall to be pushing for one foreign language for our elementary school children.”

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