By: Valerie Vazquez
I like all Moms want to do everything I can to give my daughter the foundation for future success. As soon as I found out that there was a Spanish Immersion Class for Kids in the Bronx; I knew I had to get more information. I quickly contacted Julissa Martinez of La Escuelita de Sofia and could not be happier. Julissa is passionate about the Spanish Language and culture. She has a wonderful repeiore with the children and engages them from beginning to end. The hour is filled with songs, crafts and limitless smiles. The children are fully immersed in the Spanish langugage and from day one begin to absorb words and songs. My daughter sings dos manitos, diez dieditos (2 hands/10 fingers) non stop 🙂
I encourage all Bronx Mamas to contact Julissa Martinez to schedule a demo class at email@example.com
. The class schedule is as follows
Tuesdays 4:30pm to 5:30pm (6-8 yr olds)
Wednesdays 4:15pm to 5:15pm (2-5 yr olds)
Thursdays 5:15pm to 6:15pm (9-12 yr olds)
Saturdays 1:30pm to 2:30pm (2-5 yr olds)
I also took some time to interview the founder of La Escuelita de Sofia, Julissa Martinez.
#1 What made you start La Escuelita de Sofia?
Being fluent in Spanish has always been important to me. I was brought up in a Spanish Speaking household. My father would always say ” En la casa solamente se habla espanol” ” y en la escuela se habla ingles” Those words stayed with me for a long time. When my daughters were older, I use to say those same words. I made it habitual to speak Spanish in the house, and the girls responded to the immersion by being fluent in the language. Also, throughout my teaching career as a High School teacher and College Adjunct, I was always complimented for my energy and teaching style. I also wanted my three year old daughter, Sofia, to be trilingual and started looking for a school who taught Italian using the Immersion Approach. To my surprise, the Italian class was conducted in someone’s house. And that’s when it dawned on me. “I could do this” “I have the teaching experience and raised three Bilingual children” “Why not?”
#2 What is a typical class like?
A typical class for young children consists of singing songs, reading books and doing arts and crafts in Spanish. The entire lesson is conducted in Spanish and the children are asked to participate as much as possible in Spanish. At first, students are somewhat quiet because they are unsure of what to say. As the classes go on, the children remember words, then phrases, and eventually answer questions. Because children are less self conscious, eventually we have a lot of fun singing, playing and speaking Spanish – it really starts to look like a one room Spanish schoolhouse!
#3 Why do you think its important for us to teach our children Spanish?
As Hispanic parents, we have the obligation to teach our children Spanish. We want them to preserve the language and culture. As non-hispanic parents we want to prepare them for a better future. There is a huge demand for bilingual people in most professions and starting early is the key to success. In terms of development, the language skills of people are usually more developed if they are exposed to multiple languages as children. It’s almost like an ‘unfair advantage’ for children. They respond to the immersion so readily. Another reason is that schools teach Spanish, usually beginning in 6th or 7th grade. As people begin to look outside of their school for language learning, or for early preparation, I feel that I am qualified to fill that need. Lastly, I think it’s valuable for the parents of young children to see how readily their children learn in a relaxed and fun environment. This can excite them and help them prepare their kids for fun learning activities and put them in a position to succeed intellectually.