MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A North Valley district is rolling out a new Dual Language Immersion Program.
In kindergarten teacher Senda Chang's classroom, students are hitting the books in not one, but two languages.
"This is the very beginning, building the foundations of the sound of the alphabet," said Merced Scholars Charter Teacher Senda Chang.
It's part of Merced County Office of Education's new Hmong and Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program.
"The students will be getting instruction and engaging with their peers in two languages throughout the school day," explained Principal for Student Programs Mark Pintor. "Half of their time will be working and speaking in a partner language, either Spanish or Hmong, and the other half will be working in English."
The program is the first of its kind in Merced County and is open to pre-school, kindergarten and first grade. The plan is to add an additional grade each year.
"They come to school knowing very little Hmong, they speak mostly English," added Chang. "A lot of it has to do with having the kids practice repetition and also pronounce and annunciate the sounds correctly."
Thirty students are enrolled and there's space for more.
"I hope they can walk away, be proud to be Hmong and proud of their language," said Chang.
For details on how to enroll, visit their website.