Are mixed-age classes the best way to go? What if some children are slower or more advanced that others? 

Mixed level classes provide a natural opportunity for children to raise awareness of their own skills, learn from communicating with a variety of speakers, and step into leadership roles by being "líder" (leader) for target activities when ready. In addition, small class sizes allow the teacher to be aware of, and teach to each student’s individual needs.

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FAQ spanish language in play

What does "immersion" mean?
Our teachers speak a minimum of 90% in Spanish but will use English in the following situations:

          it in Spanish - English - Spanish until students understand.  
          phrase.
          teacher and student so students feel more comfortable participating in class. Students have the
          opportunity to share news and teachers may use an “English sandwich” to ask a question or                   make a positive comment to foster a caring bond with the children.
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I noticed my child's class is repeating a unit from last year.  Why?

Returning to earlier lessons, on occasion, will allow your child to build confidence when they see how far their Spanish has come. There is also an opportunity to take on a leadership role in class during games and activities. Additionally, he or she will be ready to use this “old” learning in new ways. 
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How much Spanish should I expect to hear from my child outside of class?

The most truest (and most honest) answer is:
Any and all ways your child is experiencing Spanish (whether he be very verbal about it or very quiet) is exactly where your child should be.

Children vary incredibly in how they learn, what skills they master and in what order, and how quickly we can "see" that learning in the form of speaking the language.  You can read more about the different levels of learning here: Blog link soon!
Scroll down to read more about these Frequently Asked Questions.

Are mixed-age classes the best way to go? What if some children are slower or more advanced that others?

What does "immersion" mean?

I noticed my child's class is repeating a unit from last year. Why?

How much Spanish should I expect to hear from my child outside of class?

What can I do at home to better understand how my child is learning?

Will my child be too tired to take a class after school?
What can I do to better understand my child's learning?

We welcome parents of currently enrolled children to come observe our classes! No notice necessary. As long as your presence does not interfere with any child's participation in class, you are always welcome! In addition, we send out Adelante! a study guide at the start of each unit with information and a list of vocabulary words students are learning. Use the Adelante! as a starting point for conversations, fun quizzes and games. Learn more about fun games, books, crafts and recipes you can use to enhance your child’s learning on our blog (links to be added soon!) and our Pinterest page
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Will my child be too tired to take a class after school?

While every child is different, we take several steps to ensure that classes at any time of day are a successful, confidence-building experience for all children. Most of our after school classes allow for 15 minutes of snack time (brought from home) before class starts. In addition, our classes are very active, as we are constantly communicating back-and- forth with one another while moving our bodies. We incorporate all learning styles into our format and include seeing, listening, speaking and motion in everything we do. We change activities every few minutes in order to keep children's attention fresh and engaged. Our small class sizes allow our well-trained teachers to be cognizant of students' behavior and to modify activities to accommodate children’s needs.
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Classes are mixed age and mixed levels. How do you make sure that each child gets what she needs? That the class isn't too fast for some or too slow for others?
Mixed level classes provide a natural opportunity for children to raise awareness of their own skills, learn from communicating with a variety of speakers, and step into leadership roles by being "líder" (leader) for target activities when ready.

Because our classes are small, our teachers know what each individual child is ready for. Being that we focus on speaking to one another, it's quite natural for a more advance student to be working on longer phrases and answer the question, "Do you want a red ball or a green ball?" with multiple words ("I want a red ball, please."), while a less advance student may simply say "Red, please."

In our elementary classes, we talk about topics such as gender, how to figure out if a word is masculine or feminine, and then choose the proper adjective to go with the word. Younger or less advanced students learn that there are several different ways to say "red" or even "the" (how intriguing!), but when speaking, they may not focus on which gender to use because they are simply trying to connect syllables and words. More advanced students will spend less energy on "getting the words out," which frees up their mind to focus on the grammatical details.  
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What does "immersion" mean?
Our instructors speak a minimum of 90% in Spanish. Times where your child may hear Engilsh are:

When discussing culture.

To establish ground rules.  
We may use "English sandwiches" to establish ground rules and expectations. We will say it in Spanish - English - Spanish the first few times, and then only in Spanish (including gestures, facial expression, and body language!).  

At the start of a new unit.
We may use English Sandwiches so that students know the exact translation of a grammatical phrase (Vocabulary is always presented in picture and real object form, so no need for English there). We want children to know exactly what "Yo quiero" (I want it/one/some) means so that they recognize opportunities to use it outside of class in a variety of contexts (not only with their Spanish teacher!).

During snack (before class).  Because we see most students only once a week, we need to quickly build a trusting relationship in the beginning of the year and then briefly reinforce that trust at the start of each class. We do this so our students feel cared for, which increases their self-confidence and willingness to try new things. During snack, we allow a few children to tell about an event they might want to share (lost tooth, visit from grandma, etc).  Teachers might use an English Sandwich to ask a question or make a positive comment to foster a caring bond with the children. This trust goes a LONG way in maintaining a positive learning environment where lots of communication is done by gesture, facial expression, tone of voice, and body language!

In emergencies or situations that threaten the health or safety of any child.
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I noticed my child's class is repeating a unit from last year. Why? 
After a year, your child is a new learner in many ways. He's grown, matured, acquired new skills, all of which make his experience and participation in this year's class different than last year. Being even vaguely familiar with any vocabulary or grammar will allow him to focus on more than just the basics. He may be ready to use longer phrases and more complex grammar the second time around. Having played a few of the games and/or seen some of the props once a year at most, it's exciting to see them again, and we often hear "OH! I've seen these before!" which can boost your child's confidence and willingness to challenge himself, as well as take a leadership role in the games and activities.
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How much Spanish should I expect to hear from my child outside of class?

The most true (and honest) answer is:
Any and all ways your child is experiencing Spanish (whether he be very verbal about it or very quiet) is exactly where your child should be.

Children vary incredibly in how they learn, what skills they master and in what order, and how quickly we can "see" that learning in the form of speaking the language.  


Learning and Performing: Naturally, parents want some insight into what their children are learning or how they're doing, and the challenge with asking the common question, "What did you learn today?" or "What does ___ mean?" is several-fold. Questions like these are not truly about what a child is learning so much as her ability to perform on command. In our traditional schooling systems, we are trained to look primarily at performance as proof of what a child is learning. While performance can certainly give us some solid information on what a child has mastered, it provides only a portion of what a child might actually "know" or be developing on the inside.


Context - Developing skills and Mastering skills. Speaking newly learned vocabulary or grammar, outside the context of class, is challenging and shows the highest level of mastery. The Spanish class (seeing the teacher, being in a particular room, using toys or props, seeing or reading from cue cards, etc.) makes learning very concrete. When your child moves into a different setting (car, home, the hallway outside the class), the cues that help activate the language skills she may use consistently in class are no longer available. Practicing, learning, mastering, manipulating, and then speaking Spanish in a variety of situations takes time. Knowing this, we put intense focus on speaking as much as possible in class via interactive communication games in order to maximize the practice time we have together.

The time it takes.  In an immersion school setting, where a child speaks and listens to Spanish for 6+ hours a day, it can take up to seven years to gain true, native-like proficiency. During this process, typically at the beginning, a child may go through a "Silent Period" where he does not speak the newer language and/or his own native language for weeks, months, or even a year; and ALL of that is considered normal along the vast continuum of learning. While it's likely a child will learn to communicate effectively and fluidly in much less than seven years, how long it takes your child to bring language from class into other settings depends on a myriad of things, and the mix is truly unique to each individual. Just a few things to consider are your child's personality type (extroverted? introverted?), learning style (visual, verbal, auditory, kinesthetic - we use ALL of these in class, but is your child's preferred learning style easily adaptable to what's available outside of class?), and a BIG one: how much exposure and practice your child receives outside of class. If you can imagine a child who has soccer practice once a week:Does he play in games on the weekend? At recess at school? Is there a soccer ball available at home for him to play around with?  Or a child who takes a weekly swim lesson: Does she stay after class for free swim? Does she go to the community pool for free swim at other times? Does she have a pool at home?  Like any skill, the more opportunities for practice and exposure, the better. Are there opportunities for your child to hear or practice Spanish outside of class? Our ¡Adelante! guides that come with each unit can help you do so!
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Will my child be too tired to take a class after school?
We understand that every child is different, and we take several steps to ensure that classes at any time of day are a successful and confidence-building experience for all children. Most of our after school classes allow for 15min of snack time (brought from home) before class starts. In addition, our classes are very active, as we are constantly communicating back-and-forth with one another while moving our bodies. We incorporate all learning styles into our format and include seeing, listening, speaking and motion in everything we do. We change activities every few minutes in order to keep children's attention fresh and engaged. Our teachers are well-trained and perceptive of students' behavior and are skilled at modifying activities to accommodate children's needs. 
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