Language Classes: A Variety of Classes for Any Westchester Kid’s (Or Their Parent’s) Interests

You may not have had the opportunity to learn French, Spanish, German, or Mandarin in elementary or middle school, but your kids do!


Clockwise from top left: Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School hosts Chinese exchange students; students of 50 nationalities attend the French-American School of New York; Most of the cirriculum at German School New York is taught in German.

Parents are demanding it, the government is highlighting its importance, and school leaders and teachers are all clamoring to offer more of it. The “it” is foreign language instruction. 

More students are studying foreign languages, and doing so at younger ages, says Martha G. Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. “It’s a critical skill for children,” she says. 

While it’s clear that knowing more than one language will help students get into prestigious colleges and benefit them in their future careers, that doesn’t mean all language classes are the same. Westchester County has a wealth of choices of immersion programs in which students learn content in a second language; foreign schools that teach students in accordance with other countries’ standards (as well as meeting all of New York State’s requirements); and dual-language programs in which students with different native languages learn together. We sort out some of these programs here, making it easier to choose what works best for your family. 

French-American School of New York, Mamaroneck
Ossining Union Free School District
German School New York, White Plains
Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School, Croton-on-Hudson
Lyceum Kennedy French American School, Ardsley

Wayne D’Orio is a Connecticut-based writer who has been covering education for more than 10 years. He has written articles for Scholastic, the New York Times, and the Hartford Courant. 

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