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Learning locally

Where you can go in the Hudson Valley to learn about second languages

Ideally, a child can learn another language from their parent as they converse in the household from a young age. However, for parents who don’t speak another language or parents who want to supplement what they are already doing, there are local language learning options.


Woodstock Day School, a private school covering preschool to twelfth grades in Saugerties, teaches both Spanish and Chinese at all grade levels. “Many of our teachers are proficient in more than one language,” said Linda Oehler-Marx, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Woodstock Day School. “And they will often switch back and forth, in Kindergarten particularly.”


Woodstock Day School followed a more traditional language program in the past, according to Oehler-Marx, but she says that parents have been supportive of the current approach. “We focus on reading and writing, as they do in traditional curriculum, but speaking and listening are paramount,” said Oehler-Marx. “What is the point of second language instruction if it is not useful?”


Learning Chinese


The Mid-Hudson Chinese Language Center (MHCLC), a non-profit organization whose goal is to teach Chinese language and culture in Wappingers Falls, hosts a variety of language opportunities from a preschool play group to conversation class.


MHCLC welcomes children with little to no experience with the Chinese language along with those who already have a grasp of the language.“Many English background parents sit in class with their children,” said Tso-Hui Ting, representative of MHCLC. “They learn while their kids learn and they know clearly the class progress so they can help with their kids on homework or maybe they work together.”


Ting said that learning another language can build an attitude of respect for different cultures and builds confidence to approach and explore new environments.


Start now


Experts agree that being multilingual will give your child an economic edge along with intellectual and social benefits. Through the use of bilingual picture books, immersion classes or conversations around the dinner table, the benefits to your child from learning a second, third or even fourth language are worth the investment you make in teaching them now.


Janine Boldrin is a freelance writer who lives in West Point with her family.

Learn about how one family is trying for three languages.