St. Cloud schools to add Somali immersion program, thought to be a first in the nation


December 19, 2022

David Joles, Star Tribune

Spanish immersion teacher Marita Schmitz does the itsy-bitsy spider with her kindergarten students at the St. Cloud school district's Clearview Elementary School in Clear Lake, Minn., on Dec. 9.

ST. CLOUD - A familiar melody spilled out of Marita Schmitz's kindergarten classroom one morning earlier this month. Inside, while sitting on a multicolor mat at the front of the room, children used their fingers and arms to demonstrate how a spider climbs up a waterspout just to be washed away by rain.

But instead of singing about an "itsy bitsy spider," the little voices sang of "la araña."

The students, most of whom are native English speakers, spend their school days learning the same curriculum as students in typical kindergarten classes, except nearly everything is taught in Spanish.


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