Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Parent Testimonial: Learning as a Family

Dad wins!
Imagine intentional time with your family enjoying each other's company and learning a new skill.  This is what I love about Family Classes.  Whole families can learn Spanish together!  Parents learn right alongside their children and everyone encourages each other to practice and keep growing toward bilingualism throughout the week.

Maria had this vision when she contacted me.  She is a native Spanish speaker, and she desired for her children to be fluent in Spanish as well.  The same as one would hire a personal trainer to get physically fit, she knew that having a Spanish instructor in the home to facilitate learning and accountability would make the difference, and it did!  Here's a quote from Maria:

"Our family has been taking Spanish with Megan for six months.  It has been an incredible experience for us.  As a native speaker, it is extremely important that my sons (5 and 10) learn to speak, read and write Spanish.  However, I was not successful in teaching them myself because of their lack of interest.  With Megan, not only are they learning the language but as a family we get to play games, sing and have fun doing it.  My husband looks forward to our Spanish class as well.  Thank you Megan for bringing the love of Spanish to our family."

What an inspiration Maria is and what a joy to see a family purposefully spending an hour together to learn Spanish!

Now Enrolling: Elementary Spanish Classes

What a gift to start off your students learning Spanish early on.  That's what we do in our Temprano Spanish courses.  Today, especially here in Southern California, Spanish is barely a "foreign" language.  It is spoken all around us!  It is a common part of our local lifestyle.  Teaching your children Spanish gives them a foot in the door to countless career opportunities, not to mention enriching life experiences.  The skills they learn are not limited to Spanish, but they translate to increased understanding of English and ability to learn other languages as well.

During the elementary years, we have more time to approach Spanish with songs, games, dance, hand motions, drawing, and acting.  We aren't rushed to prepare for the next written exam, but we create a safe environment for students to absorb the language naturally and enjoy the process.

Start a class with your friends!  If you have a group of friends who would also like to learn Spanish, you can have your own private class!  We generally meet once per week for an hour long class.  Each student has his or her own workbook and each family has the CD of songs to take home and reinforce the material between classes.  Prizes are awarded for completed homework.  Each class meeting is unique and full of language learning!

Contact Megan Fitzpatrick at 714-425-5533 or email Mrs.MeganFitzpatrick@gmail.com to start up your own private elementary Spanish class!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Now Enrolling! Early Registration PRICE REDUCTION on Junior High Level Courses in Los Alamitos!

Food Projects

There's just no getting around it.  If you want to talk about language, you have to talk about culture.  If you want to talk about culture, you have to talk about food.  That's just how it is.  Thankfully, the Spanish-speaking world has an amazing palate.  The spices, the combinations, the gathering around the table... it's all fascinating and all part of learning Spanish.

We live in Southern California, where Mexican food is part of our own culture.  Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas... these are dishes we've been eating since before we could even speak English.  But what about milanesas? gazpacho? empanadas? alfajores? causa?  Have you tried these before?  Many foods, especially those from South America and Spain, are not quite so familiar, but they are worth experiencing!

In Temprano classes, students make dishes from around Latin America and Spain.  They discover that cuisine they have never dreamed of can often be made from ingredients they have right there in their own kitchens.  Amazing!

Bilingual Field Trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano

Hands-on learning is fun, exciting, and engaging... and there is much room for such learning in foreign language studies.  Spanish is living!  It's used all around the world every day, and it has a rich and colorful history that very much shapes our local Southern California lifestyle.  This is why field trips are simply essential for language learning and are included in many Temprano Spanish classes.

This year our Junior High and High School level students went to Mission San Juan Capistrano!  What a place of historic depth and aesthetic beauty.  The grounds are kept pristine with blooming flowers and flowing fountains.  We had a private tour conducted in both English and Spanish in such a way where students could pick up new words, and practice what they have studied, but also not get lost.  Even parents had the chance to dust off some of their Spanish.  It was excellent!
Part of our group having fun at Mission SJC!  Even Baby Abigail got in on the fun!

After the tour we found a local Mexican restaurant where students could receive extra credit for ordering in Spanish.  Though perhaps a bit nervous, their language skills worked as I believe everyone got what they had asked for!  Practicing a foreign language isn't about getting every syllable right, but about putting oneself out there and making the effort to try what has been learned.  I love seeing students' willingness to use their language skills out the the field.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Starting Students "Temprano"

Making empanadas!
Back in 2010, when I started Temprano Spanish, I knew that helping students to begin learning Spanish early on in their educational journeys was one of my main goals.  This is what gave birth to the name "Temprano" (Spanish for "Early").  Young students really are "sponges," and time after time I've seen how incredibly well even the youngest students acquire Spanish as a foreign language.

One of my youngest students started when she was just two years old!  Meghan, homeschooling mother of 3, contacted me and said that she would like to start Spanish lessons for her two oldest: ages 4 and 2 at the time. We sang songs, played games, did puppets, jumped, danced, acted, drew and laughed our way along for two full years.  After these years of weekly lessons, these students knew a TON!  They could act out verbs, understand stories, answer questions, and make silly sentences.  I often had to fight back tears as they would recall words and phrases so naturally and beautifully.  

Meghan's family moved to the East Coast at the end of our two years of classes together, but they continue to stand firm in my mind as a great example of the incredible benefits of learning Spanish "early" on!  
Recalling vocabulary through drawing