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Meet the Palescandolo Burkhardt Family

"We are so grateful to have a Spanish immersion school close to home. Without JUMP, I don’t know where we would be,” explains Laura Palescandolo, mom of 6-year-old Marius who currently attends JUMP Immersion School in Summit, NJ. .

Laura grew up in the U.S. and began studying Spanish in 7th grade, continuing with her studies through high school, college, and abroad. Her grasp of Spanish is formidable, but there is still a wish she had learned Spanish as a child. When it came time to transition her son into a classroom setting, she was immediately drawn to JUMP and its bilingual immersive education program. Three years later, Marius is thriving at JUMP, with excellent speaking, reading, and writing skills in both English and Spanish.

Why did you choose Jump?

Laura: Shortly before Marius turned 3 years old, we found ourselves at a crossroads, seeking to transition Marius from being cared for at home, by both us and his grandparents, to a childcare / school setting, where he would receive equal care and attention. We looked at a number of Spanish immersion schools and JUMP checked all the boxes; Marius would be well taken care of and receive a top-notch Spanish immersion education. The JUMP team is extraordinary; both his teachers and administrators; they put so much heart into their work.

What are some milestones in your child’s immersion education journey that stand out to you?

Laura: Marius’ reading skills are excellent -- far ahead of the curve. In kindergarten, he was already reading fluidly (we were told, at a fourth-grade level) and much of that credit goes to his Pre-K teachers (who taught him to read, add, and subtract). In Pre-K, Marius acquired important life skills and knowledge -- about buildings, clothing (he learned to button and zipper), road signs, baking bread, and insect anatomy.

In kindergarten, Marius honed his public speaking skills as “Chef of the Month" and learned about the solar system. Ask him about the planets and he will name them in Spanish and English, in order of distance from the Sun, and say what makes each unique (he even answered a planet-related "Jeopardy" question correctly)! When people overhear Marius and I conversing in Spanish, they become curious and ask where we are from -- and I explain that Marius attends a bilingual Spanish immersion school. We enjoy receiving the weekly JUMP newsletters, which we share with Marius' grandparents, and reading / seeing photos of the students' day-to-day lives, as well as their curriculum and accomplishments.

What are your hopes and dreams for Marius’ continuing bilingual education?

Laura: Over the summer, when Marius was not enrolled in JUMP, I noticed he was speaking more English. Often, he would initiate a conversation in Spanish but insert words in English, despite knowing those words in Spanish. I could tell how important it was for Marius to have that daily interaction in Spanish, and how his language preference is affected by his time in school, long after class ends. The curriculum at JUMP is unmatched, and our wish for Marius is that he is able to continue excelling as a biliterate Spanish immersion student for years to come. Beyond that, we would like to see language immersion integrated into public education. Giving our children that bilingual advantage from the get-go is a gift -- a lifelong skill they can leverage in the future.

Marius Speaking Spanish: