¡HOLA! A Playgroup in Spanish was created to give a space to enter the fun and exciting world of the Spanish language. Our classes are taught through the use of verbal input (visual and auditory), which includes original and traditional music, games, props, art, movement, free play and literacy, engaging the child in a multi-sensory learning process. Both teacher led and free activities form a part of our structured classes and we encourage children to interact and discover many aspects of the world around them.
This program is about PLAY AND INTERACTION and my CUATRO keys:
1. Immersion is important because you receive all the input in the language you're trying to learn and language occurs in context which teaches the child how to "read" context, critical for learning faster.
2. Consistency is essential because language is something that grows, and through repetition, learning can occur when a new context is found in an old word or concept. Knowledge developed in one language can be accessed through a second language once the vocabulary has been learned. When the child continues to participate year-round in the program, it helps develop a genuine interest in foreign language and builds communication skills. Each child's language development varies and is dependent on the amount of exposure to the language.
3. Parents' role: encouragement, enthusiasm and interest are vital in a child's second language development. Any parent can raise a child who knows more than one language, even if that parent is monolingual. Praising the child when they hear the child speaking the second language may do wonders for the child's language ego.
4. Languages are best learned in young toddlerhood. Starting younger offers the widest benefits because children have greater room to grow into both their first and second languages. Learning languages in childhood helps children to more easily learn languages as an adult, as the neural pathways of the brain for language are hard-wired. Hearing subtle sounds present in the language by a native speaker helps a child assimilate the sound into their own language repertoire.
WHO IS ¡HOLA! FOR AND WHO COMES TO HOLA?
All children! ¡HOLA! provides a wonderful introduction. Already Spanish speaking children are not only welcome, but encouraged to continue this learning process as they grow.
Social development is a cornerstone of our program. ¡HOLA!, provides the child an opportunity to socialize with children from different cultural backgrounds.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND WHAT'S THE IMPACT OF BILINGUALISM?
At ¡HOLA! the child is carefully and lovingly introduced to the language and benefits in many ways, feeling empowered and proud of their achievements. Children get so much from this program! Learning a new language is en exciting and rewarding experience at any age, and the focus of this extensive theme-based program among many other benefits, will help the child build vocabulary to become bilingual later on.
On intelligence: Bilingual persons may have a slightly higher IQ. The bilingual brain develops more densely, giving it an advantage in various abilities and academic skills such as in math, music, science, more advanced reading skills and higher test scores than monolingual speakers.
On thinking skills: Being able to communicate and think in two languages simultaneously, not only boosts the child's self esteem but it enhances the child's critical thinking skills. Bilingual persons have a wider set of associations for vocabulary, allowing more options for problem solving or understanding.
On cultural identity: Part of being bilingual means being bicultural, helping maintain roots in the other culture which helps create a sense of belonging while building bridges.
Spanish is fun and it provides many cultural opportunities. Learning two languages maybe difficult even for children, but at ¡HOLA! this process goes with ease. As we enter an age of cultural and economic globalization, there will be more and more business and people traveling between the U.S. and Latin America. More opportunities and economic advantage will be available to those who are bilingual in many work fields. It is likely that the young generations of children will be working and interacting with people who come from Central and South America, and Spain. Also, the largest-fastest growing population in the US is Latino, which makes up for the largest percentage of the entire US population, and it continues to grow.
And, there is no better way to begin to understand people on their own terms than to speak their language. In a time when the planet and its problems are increasingly interconnected, understanding people with different histories and cultures is a must.
Please click here to read an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal: "Using Playtime to Make Your Baby Bilingual" (May 6, 2010)