Sioux Falls, SD
Hola, or "Cómo estás?" those are just some of the words pre-schoolers at the EmBe Avera downtown have picked up.
A few years ago, the organization started a Spanish Immersion day care.
There might be games, music, arts and craft activities but this is not your typical classroom.
For a few hours each day, these students get Spanish lessons.
"We have the library, we have the biblioteca, we have programs and games about spelling, reading." Spanish teacher, Pilar Baron said.
Pilar Baron, is originally from Columbia. She has been teaching the Spanish immersion to mostly four and five-year-olds for a couple of years at EmBe.
"Their brains are working faster than older ones but it depends it's not difficult, it depends on how we work with them," Baron said.
EmBe CEO, Laurie Knutson says more parents want their children to learn a second language.
"It's really amazing even with four hours a day of Spanish and when we do the graduation in the spring it's remarkable to see them read books and to sing songs, to do a whole curriculum in Spanish," CEO at EmBe, Laurie Knutson said.
"We can read some books in English and some books in Spanish and they will catch on much better and people say oh they will get confused. No they don't get confused. They are very little and they absorb," Baron said.
Just like a sponge, kids have the ability to easily retain bits and pieces of the lessons.
"They take their environment and they just absorb it and they apply it and even unconsciously sometimes they are picking up and learning so many things," Knutson said.
The curriculum is designed in a way so that's it's easy for kids to jump in and catch up, while embracing a new language.
"It prepares them from a whole level of learning and just even mind development how they approach and how they problem solve is enhanced when they pick up a second language earlier in life because it causes them to have to do problem solving in different ways," Knutson said.
But it's not just these little kids who are learning.
"Often times the parents are picking up some words as well because the kids are coming home and they are wanting to read they are wanting to demonstrate to their parents something that that they have learned or that they have that maybe their parents don't have. So it's really fun to hear the stories back from parents how they are seeing the impact with their children," Knutson said.
While teaching the Spanish language is important to Baron, her main goal is to promote positive encouragement.
"They help each other and they are like a little community. And they are all the time twenty-four seven ready to help people. So my principle is to plant seeds of love," Baron said.
Parents can enroll their son or daughter in the Spanish Immersion program anytime. Organizers say kids have the ability to get caught up quickly even if they have a late start.
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