Language learning

ISI is the only Indiana school offering language immersion in three languages; French, Mandarin and Spanish. The focus is on developing fluency in speaking, reading, writing and understanding, so students can actively participate in their target language.

Our emphasis on bilingual education and language immersion is a big part of why ISI offers the Midwest's most distinct academics. Research shows that bilingual learning is both natural and beneficial and that bilingual people tend to use their brains more efficiently than those who speak only one language. Bilingual learners ultimately become more independent, creative, and flexible in everything they take on.

We believe that immersion is more than the language, it encompasses culture too. Language learning is critical for understanding and empathizing with those from different cultures, ensuring ISI students are ready for the world stage.

  • Taught by native speakers
  • No language prerequisites 
  • Supportive of new language learners throughout

How Language Learning Works at ISI

Language learning is a continuum along which each individual progresses differently. The guidelines below are based on students learning a language from pre-elementary. 

As there is no previous language experience required to attend ISI at any grade level, students who are new to language learning are provided specialized programming and attain language skills at a different stage to their grade level peers.  



(3 yo - Kindergarten)

Rapid development of comprehension and spoken skills.

Taught almost entirely in the chosen language with the exception of Music, Art and Physical Education. 

English is introduced in Kindergarten to build a foundation for writing and reading in English.


(Grades 1 -5)

Emerging comprehension of complex concepts, developing proficiency in oral and written expression.

Grades 1-3 experience the majority of language instruction in chosen language (approx. 80%). Grades 4-5 spend 50% of their classroom time in the target language.

Time spent learning in English increases to foster a heightened focus on English language and literacy skills, music, art, and physical education.

Middle School

(Grades 6 - 8)

Increasing sophistication in comprehension and expression of abstract academic language. 

Students study in more structured periods: between 25-35% of their school week is dedicated to language learning.

Opportunity to learn a third language for students with sound academic performance. 

High School

(Grades 9 - 12)

Reaching educated adult levels for students with language experience.

Introductory courses available to new students.

Students study in structured periods: with 15-25% of their time dedicated to language learning.

Opportunity to learn a third language for students with sound academic performance.