Hola! My name is Paula and I will be the Spanish teacher at Rozey Days Montessori School. I am very excited to embark on this new adventure.
Why an additional Language?
In an increasingly globalised and interconnected world with cosmopolitan and diverse cities like Bristol, we believe that children, especially in the first few years of their lives, are best placed to absorb and acquire languages in a natural, organic way.
Maria Montessori discovered that very young children have a special sensitivity to language which enables them to absorb them effortlessly and naturally in the first 6 years of life. During this sensitive period for language, children are most interested in learning the names for everything around them and as they expand their vocabulary, they are feeding their inclination to learn and develop.
Thus, there is a great opportunity for children to learn and understand a second, and even a third, language simultaneously at this stage which may seem surprising to many adults who find learning foreign languages quite a struggle.
There are two ways in which language is usually taught in Montessori schools: the first one consists of exploratory classes which last for a short period of time. Although children may well learn to communicate through this method in a second language, they don’t usually attain fluency. The second type of language program is immersion whereby the nursery or school setting is fully bilingual with activities being conducted in both languages. Children exposed to this method tend to become bilingual, developing greater mental flexibility and cultural awareness.
Research shows that early bilingualism offers many life-long advantages such as fostering creativity and problem-solving, aiding memory, stronger academic skills and overall improved mental health in later life. This is why I am so pleased that in Bristol we will now have a Montessori school which offers spanish.
How does it work?
Daily repetition of common words and phrases in Spanish with an emphasis on songs, poems, stories, movements and everyday tasks allow the children to become familiarised with the foreign language and to naturally understand the meaning of the words by associating them with the actions or objects that they are attached to.
Children learn language at different speeds and levels. As a teacher or “directress”, my role will be to observe each child and tailor activities to their individual needs and interests. Each child should be free to progress at his or her own pace so that they can grow as individuals with confidence and a love of learning. Immersion means that the Spanish language will be present at all times, in a real-life context rather than out of textbook pages. Therefore, the language will be acquired through interactive experience, much in the same way as the native language has been since birth.
Language is inevitably tied to culture and the classroom will provide the children with a rich environment for language and cultural experiences. The Spanish language, the second most-widely spoken language in the world after Chinese, offers a valuable opportunity to incorporate customs, traditions and experiences from a vast range of countries and cultures in Spain, Latin America and the United States of America.
The children will learn about foods, songs, celebrations and customs by recreating them and being active participants in these experiences using the Spanish language as a key to open and explore their environment and the world.
I look forward to helping the children discover the fascinating world of Spanish and to encourage and guide them along the journey working closely with each one of them and their families. I will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have about the Spanish program at Rozey Days Montessori School Bristol.