Milwaukee German Immersion School is a 4-year old kindergarten through grade 5 elementary school founded by Milwaukee Public Schools in 1977. We serve as a city-wide school to attract children from all parts of the Milwaukee area with our innovative total language immersion program.
An “immersion approach” to language learning makes bilingualism an attainable goal and provides exciting opportunities for children to gain deeper insights into themselves, other ways of thinking, and self expression. Since the children learn to cope and succeed in an unfamiliar environment, their verbal creativity and problem-solving skills are greatly enhanced.
The concept of a total early immersion second language program is based on the simple idea that language learning should be started early to provide the maximum number of contact hours in the second language.
In order for language learning to be successful, children must see that the language can be used immediately in meaningful situations. Immersion programs involve students in the use of the second language for communicating in normal everyday situations and in subject content learning. Children learn the second language very much as they learn their first language.
Our immersion students will be able to communicate in German with ability approximating that of a student who is native to that language. Additionally, our students will acquire a greater knowledge and appreciation of other cultures and perform on standardized tests as well as or better than students who are enrolled in English-only programs. It’s that simple.
“We don’t have any German ancestors in our family. Will we feel out of place?”
“I don’t know any German. How will I help my kids with their homework?”
“How will they learn to read English if they only speak German at school?”
Many parents ask these same questions when thinking about sending their child here. There are no special tests or requirements for entrance to our school. Children enroll in kindergarten or first grade with NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF GERMAN. From the first day of kindergarten through the last day of 5th grade, children are taught reading, writing, math, social studies and science in German. Don’t worry, your child WILL learn English. In 2nd grade, students begin to receive English reading instruction, which continues through 5th grade. Even though most instruction has been in German, our students consistently score very high on standardized tests.
Parents do not need to know German for their children to succeed. Parents can still help with math, reading, English, etc. But just as important, parents can help by supporting their child’s effort to learn and grow.
“Zweisprachigkeit” is our motto!
What will my student learn each year?
4-Year Old Kindergarten
In 4-year-old Kindergarten, the children begin to learn the basics of German. During this first year, the children are exposed to German the entire day.
5-Year Old Kindergarten
In 5-year-old Kindergarten, the children build on their knowledge of German. The children are exposed to German the entire day.
In first grade, the children begin to read and write in German and solidify their skills in the foundations of mathematics.
The children continue to develop their German reading and writing skills while they are introduced to an average of 30 minutes of English reading twice a week.
Along with a wide curriculum, the children learn multiplication, division, and geography of the United States as they continue to master English and German reading and writing skills.
The children not only learn about fractions and the history of Wisconsin, but they also continue to develop their skills in writing and critical thinking.
Children in 5th regularly work in cooperative groups, solidifying their German speaking writing skills. They also learn to become independent for middle school.
The children learn reading and mathematics in English and other skills that help them reach academic success.
Our music, gym, and art teachers help enrich the our students’ education. The children at MGIS learn how to play a variety of musical instruments. They learn various physical activities to promote a healthy life style. The students learn various artistic techniques, and learn to appreciate other artists’ work.