German School of Madison in the News

2014-05-11 02.47.17 pm

German School of Madison in the news: The Wisconsin State Journal recently published a great article about language schools for heritage learners in Madison. From the article:

In rented classrooms in central Madison’s Neighborhood House, the German School of Madison holds weekly after-school language lessons for children of native German speakers, as well as those with no German language background. Like the Russian school, the German school was formed by parents to give their children a linguistic link to their heritage. It started as something else — an informal group where adults got together a couple times a week to chat in their native language. “The adults would speak German with one another, and their kids would run around speaking English,” said Chris Tabisz, a teacher at the school. “The parents got to thinking they should have some sort of instructor or tutor to play games with the kids or do arts and crafts, and do it in German.”

In 2012, organizers began offering more formal German language classes for students from preschool through seventh grade who were growing up in German-speaking households. Last fall, the school added a class for children from non-German-speaking homes. The class proved so popular that the school had to add another section this spring. It plans to add more in the fall. For non-native speakers, “I’ve seen them really fall in love with the language,” Tabisz said. For the children of parents who grew up speaking German themselves, “it’s about keeping it alive.” The children “all go to public school and speak English all day long,” he said. “Even at home sometimes, their parents will speak German to them and they will speak English back. So this is really an opportunity to pull out whatever remnants they have of German.”

Read more: