Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What if I don’t speak another language with my child at home? Can my child still do an immersion program?
A: Definitely! The vast majority of Atlas kids speak English as their mother tongue and are immersed in the English language at home. A smaller subset of kids have at-home exposure to a second language, and very occasionally we’ve had children who have two languages at home and are learning a third language at Atlas!
Q: Won’t my child get confused if they’re hearing Spanish or French all day at Atlas and then come home to an English-speaking environment?
A: No! Children are very adept at associating languages with specific people. Interestingly, if you ask your child to “try out” their French or Spanish on you, you’re likely to find that your child will refuse, saying that’s “Madame Carole’s language” or “Maestra Lirio’s language”. Rest
assured that if you continue to speak to your child in English (or whatever your home language is) your child will not be confused.
Q: I’ve heard that multilingual children can experience a lag in English when they attend an immersion program. Is this true?
A: While rare, it is possible that your child might experience a temporary lag in their first language
ability. At Atlas we screen children a minimum of three times per year for all sorts of developmental delays, including speech and language delays, and work with outside services for interventions as necessary. In most cases, children experience no language delay and in fact, have been shown to outperform monolingual counterparts in tests of English language if they continue in an immersion program through the elementary years!
Q: I would like my child to attend Atlas for just a couple half days per week. Is this possible?
A: As much as we try to accommodate all sorts of enrollment schedules, we cannot offer such part-time enrollment for a couple reasons. First, we know from experience that children will feel most part of their class if they come for a minimum of three times per week. While Atlas does allow two full days as a part-time option, we always caution parents that for extremely shy children two days can end up being harder on the child than anyone wants. For some children, two full days is fine! Our recommendation is
that enrollments of three, four or five full days are best for both the child’s transition and well-being, as well as for maximizing the second language input (and therefore maximizing your child’s chance to learn
their new language!).
Q: Is Atlas open year-round? Can I dis-enroll my child in the summer months?
Atlas is open year-round, and closes only for major federal holidays and for two weeks out of the year (between Christmas Eve and New Years Day, and for the week of the 4th of July. Our teachers work year-round, and the vast majority of our parents work year-round. In order to offer stable employment and meet our expenses, we do not allow children to dis-enroll in the summer months without forfeiting their spot at Atlas.
Q: What kind of food is offered at Atlas? At Atlas, we strive to offer a whole foods menu that rotates with the seasons and our local produce in Oregon. We also provide organic fruits and vegetables for all the “dirty dozen”, thin-skinned ones (berries, apples, spinach, etc.), in addition to providing organic milk and dairy alternatives for those needing them. Although we are required to adhere to USDA food guidelines in terms of the categories of food and portions, we do our best to accommodate a variety of dietary needs within the USDA guidelines.