Monday, June 11, 2012

Flip4Kids

I took Spanish in high school and in college.  I loved it, found it challenging, and was convinced it would be useful to me.  Now, fast forward I-won't-say-how-many-years-later and I retained very, very little.  Too bad.  Because it would be useful to me.  This is why foreign language immersion programs for children are such a fantastic idea and so intriguing to me.

Carrboro and Chapel Hill schools have worked hard to create immersion programs as an option for public school kids should parents elect to use them.  But if that isn't for you or you couldn't get the access to those programs, there is another option for your children.  Flip4Kids has started up in Chapel Hill.

Held at Rashkis Elementary, this program is for children to become completely immersed in either Chinese or Spanish for a certain period a day.  This program is national and comes with a lot of research behind it.  Utilizing a technique called the Thibaut Technique the classes are meant to engage all sides of a child's brain.  Science aside, I was amazed at this class.

I took C, just newly 3, to a Spanish playdate (note that I didn't remember much of my college Spanish).  The kids attending were a diverse group: some of the children were bilingual already in Spanish and English and attended the playgroup for "practice," some of the children were younger than C (6 months is the age requirement), some of the kids had already been exposed to Spanish while others had not.

This was a pretty typical lesson for tots.  They did interactive time with the teacher involving fruits (frutas) in a shopping bag (bolsa) (see, I retained some from the class, too!),  they had music, they played with a parachute, they had storytime, and they had a craft.  The entire class was centered around the same theme so was clearly well planned.  And, of course, the entire 45 minutes was in Spanish. 

That is what makes Flip4Kids unique.  This is an immersion program.  No one stands in front and says "'sandia' is 'watermelon.'"  They just start talking in Spanish.  They point to pictures, use motion, and the kids GET it.  They just get it.

I was concerned that C would be put off by being at a playgroup with new people at all, let alone in a foreign language he hadn't been exposed to.  But he loved it.  Of course, it helped that the young teacher was absolutely fantastic.

Flip4Kids has many options for your family and schedule.  They are running summer camps, playgroups, and will continue offerings in the fall.  There is a lot of flexibility within those options, too.  Of course, attending regularly is what will really make a difference to your child. 

C also liked that this was at Rashkis Elementary in Meadowmont and happens to have an awesome playground we took advantage of afterwards.

Flip4Kids
Foreign Language Immersion Program for kids
http://www.flip4kidsnc.com/

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