Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Kindergarteners enjoy Spanish Club

Bilingual lessons attract Spanish and English -speaking kids
It's been said that the younger you are, the easier it is to learn a second language, and that certainly has been the case with Madras Elementary's new Spanish Club for kindergarteners and first-graders.
   While it is held at the school, the club was organized by parents as an after-school activity, according to parent Lorene Forman.
   "I wanted my daughter to learn Spanish and couldn't find anything for young children. So (Principal) Steve Johnson said I could set this up," Forman said, noting she herself does not speak Spanish and relies on help from teachers and others.
   She sent a inquiry flyer out to other parents of kindergarteners and first-graders and couldn't believe the response. Not only did 21 kids turn up, but several of the parents have also been staying to help and learn Spanish.
   It is actually a Spanish and English Club, since all lessons, activities and stories are conducted in both languages. Forman mentioned the club has several Hispanic children, who are working on learning English, as well as English-speaking kids who are trying to learn Spanish.
   The club begins at 3:30 p.m., Tuesdays with a snack, and activity worksheets handed out by Forman. Last week's lesson was on counting to 10 in Spanish. After coloring the number worksheets, the youngsters recited the numbers in Spanish and English with Forman.
   The rest of the club was conducted by volunteer Yirah Morrero, who does Spanish Storytime for the Jefferson County Library. "Hola. Como esta?" (Hello, how are you?) Morrero asked, moving from table to table and waiting for responses from the children. Next she delighted the kids by reading a bilingual story with the help of her stuffed mouse puppet "Rosita."
   "It been really exciting for me to help English kids learn Spanish, and to know that so many parents wanted them to learn Spanish," Morrero said.
   The next lesson taught kids the Spanish names for colors. Morrero made a game out of it by handing out colored sheets of paper, then calling out the name of a color. Kids whose paper was that color had to hold the paper up when they heard the right word.
   The hour ended with everyone singing "La ara¤a peque¤ita" (The Itsy Bitsy Spider) in Spanish, then English.
   As parents arrived to pick them up, a few little voices yelled "Adios" as kids exited out the door.