Upper East Side, NYC — Back in March 2020, we obtained the opening of a brand new French Dual Language Program (DLP) for school year 2020/2021 in New York City, District 2. The Department of Education's second district includes most of Lower Manhattan, Midtown and the Upper East Side. Two French dual language Pre-K classes will therefore open for the 2020-2021 school year at District 2 Pre-K Center, located at 355 East 76th Street in Manhattan, which promotes high-quality early start education and bilingual education. 40 kids from different socioeconomic and ethnolinguistic backgrounds will benefit from this FREE BILINGUAL PROGRAM (English-French), the first of its kind in the Upper East Side. Every kid deserves a top-quality early education and the benefits of a dual language education are endless. Construct an identity through two languages and two cultures is a challenge that parents and bilingual kids can now take up more easily here in NYC District 2.
I am thankful to Aneesha Jacko who accepted to tell me a bit more about her background and excitement about this new opening. Aneesha Jacko is the Early Childhood Director for the District 2 Pre-K Centers, the one on 76th more particularly. She worked for over 20 years in Early Childhood Education. She has worked for years as an Early Childhood Educator with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. ‘I started 20 years ago , I am a 20 year veteran!’, she told.
As an Early Childhood Director since 2015, she focuses on nurturing the love of learning which she defines as predominant among the values she - along with her team - considers as essential in early education. To sum it up, Aneesha Jacko defines her motto as: ‘Inspire learning, building relationships and thriving.’, she said. New York City Pre-K for All Dual Language programs provide instruction in two languages: English and a target language. The goal is for children to experience high-quality early learning in both languages.
What attracted you to bilingual education in the first place? And the French Language?
‘I started to learn French in elementary school, and I believe it was critical feature in my love for the language, culture and my overall academic achievement. The opening of this Universal Pre-K (UPK) French Dual Language Program (DLP) is special to me. To integrate a new language has so much value, appreciation and perspectives. I also worked on Early Childhood and expanding Pre-K for All in NYC with Council Member Ben Kallos. I, as a leader, am very excited to bring this experience and opportunity to our community’. The culture of learning is something meaningful to her. To succeed, she and her staff, are very aware of the key role of the families and aim at connecting this learning environment to them as partners.
How would you describe District 2 Pre-K Center situated on 76th ? How you and your team intend to develop this culture of learning?
‘through the creation of meaningful opportunities for children to investigate and construct their knowledge of themselves and the world around them’. ‘I pride myself in the strength of my team. And I look forward to working with the parents. Right now, we need to be very resilient. And I would love to co-create this French Dual Language Program with parents, to know their expectations. I know how important the families are in the process. I am thrilled and I cannot wait to start this journey together!’, she said.
In this attempt to keep in touch with the families and get them involved, a website has recently been created: District 2 Pre-K Centers: https://www.district2prek.org
Job Opportunity at District 2 Pre-K Centers: https://newyorkinfrench.net/profiles/blogs/job-opportunity-nyc-district-2-french-dual-language-program-upper
- The following link is a recent webinar called The Bilingual Revolution Webinar Series recently organized by The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, hosted by author and Education Attaché Fabrice Jaumont: https://frenchlanguagek12.org/11838-watch-bilingual-revolution-webinarsonline
- For more information on our work: NYC District 2 - French Dual Language Program https://www.facebook.com/groups/593786378077031
- More information here: https://benkallos.com/press-release/french-dual-language-pre-kindergarten-launch-upper-east-side-response-demand-parents
We are currently working on the establishment of a Multilingual School K-8 in East Village for school year 2021/2022. If interested, please do not hesitate to join us!
Catherine Remy is one of the parents spearheading the creation of French dual-language programs in Manhattan. This article was written for NewYorkinFrench.net on July 1, 2020.