Hola! I am Ms. Kaitlin, mother to Adi (purple primary) and Ethan (purple toddler). I wanted to introduce myself as the new Spanish teacher at CFMC and tell you all about the newly expanded language program. The program this year allows students more opportunities to hear, sing, work and play in Spanish. This is a wonderful opportunity for the children to increase their global awareness and cultural understanding, as well as to use their natural capacity for language learning. Since working in the primary classrooms, I have already overheard several students discover that Spanish is not only songs on the carpet, but actually a language we can speak while playing and working!

On Thursdays, our program offers whole class instruction during a weekly Spanish circle time, with a story and vocabulary practice through singing, movement and games. In addition, primary students have individual lessons during their morning work cycle one day a week. During this time students work with me, and sometimes another friend, as language learning is of course, a social enterprise! I bring puppets, games or other interesting work that we do completely in Spanish, using lots of hands on materials to support their understanding. It is the students' choice whether to work with me on Spanish day, but typically all children choose to have a Spanish lesson that day. Playing simple games together in Spanish allows us to have fun and involves many natural language exchanges. The vocabulary targeted in games reinforces words from stories and songs we use at Spanish circle. This hands on practice and repetition has kept us in the Montessori spirit of allowing students not just exposure but direct experience in learning Spanish.

I will try to update the Spanish news on this blog periodically with information and ideas with regard to our Spanish learning. So far we have been working most with greetings, colors and animals. We have been reading Spanish versions of the familiar books "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Eric Carle and "Where is Spot?" in Spanish, using the latter to practice the ever important phrase, "Donde está? (Where is the...?) If you feel like practicing with your child at home you could ask them the colors of their clothing, "¿Qué color es?", or if you know any Spanish colors you could look to objects around the house and ask "¿Dónde está _______?" (insert color). As language naturally provides a window into the world, there will be some cultural lessons through the year. The week of September 16th we recognized Mexican Independence Day by finding Mexico on the map and making tortillas for our "work" in the primary classrooms.

Although Spanish is not my native language, I learned it as a child. During college and graduate school I lived in Spain, Mexico and Costa Rica. Before moving to Nashville last year I taught second grade and kindergarten for several years in a Spanish Immersion school in California, where we are from. Spanish has enriched my life in so many ways and it brings me so much joy to work with your children and see them truly having fun with the language. Thank you!