District 91 students will soon have a leg up on all of us who started learning a second language in middle school as the Forest Park School District 91 has decided to introduce Spanish in primary schools starting this fall. 

Students at Betsy Ross Primary Elementary School, 1315 Marengo Ave. and Garfield Elementary School, 543 Hannah Ave. will be introduced to Spanish, the most common non-English language spoken in the United States according to the 2019 Census, beginning their kindergarten year. 

According to a press release from D91, the district sees this as an opportunity for students to engage with a foreign language and broaden their cultural horizons. 

“By integrating Spanish language instruction early on, the district aims to provide students with a solid foundation and the necessary skills to continue their language learning journey in the future,” read the press release. 

Supt. Elizabeth Alvarez said the change commits the district to students’ success by recognizing the value of early language learning and how that impacts young student’s cognitive development along with their understanding of the world around them. 

“We are committed to laying the foundation for language acquisition and cultural appreciation from an early age,” Alvarez said in the press release.

The move to begin language learning at an earlier age was not without its challenges, the district said in the press release, and although it did not specify what those entitled, it expressed its commitment to ensuring student success as well as providing appropriate resources and materials to help on their language learning journey, expanding into Forest Park Middle School.

D91 was not able to be reached for comment.