Growing up Bilingual

by Sebastian Wren

Most people aren’t aware of this, but there is school right here in the neighborhood that specializes in teaching children to speak Spanish. The Olas Spanish Immersion School holds classes every day in the Ridgetop Baptist Church at the corner of Eilers and 51st Street. Each class meets once per week for 2 hours, and classes are scheduled throughout the day on weekdays, and in the morning on Saturdays. Regular classes for children up to 12 years of age help them to learn Spanish through games and and other fun, developmentally-appropriate activities.

Everybody knows how important it is to learn a second language, but not everybody knows that it is far, far better to learn a second language when you are young. To develop an “ear” for a language, you really need to grow up around native speakers, and you need to practice speaking that language before adolescence. Also not everybody knows that the most useful second language is definitely Spanish. English – Spanish bilingualism is very valuable in the job market these days, and it is becoming increasingly valuable as more and more people in Texas grow up speaking Spanish in their homes. Most of the next generation of Texans will grow up speaking Spanish.

The Olas Spanish Immersion School is a great opportunity for children to practice speaking Spanish with native-speaking adults and peer groups on a regular basis. Some parents start by enrolling their children in one class per week, but most parents discover that their children learn the language faster when they can practice a few times a week. The Olas School encourages parents to enroll in 2 or more classes per week so the child can develop fluency and confidence more rapidly.

The class sizes are small (no more than 6 children per adult) so children have a lot of individualized instruction and attention. Parents can make arrangements to attend a free trial class to see these experienced early childhood teachers at work by visiting their website.

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