Spanish language academy for children opening in Coral Gables
Isabella & Ferdinand Academia de Español, an innovative Spanish language program for children founded in Washington, D.C., will open a learning center Sept. 24 in Coral Gables to serve the Miami area.
Isabella & Ferdinand offers a broad array of classes for both first-time learners of Spanish as well as bilingual children ages 12 months to 11 years. The program’s CultureCentric curriculum is based on the standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, two of the most respected authorities on the teaching of Spanish as a second language.
Toddlers learn proper pronunciation and key vocabulary from their earliest years, while school-age children receive robust and engaging Spanish language instruction in speaking, reading and writing in a cultural context, a focus often not provided in schools.
Isabella & Ferdinand’s mission is for children to become both linguistically and culturally fluent in the Spanish language.
“We teach our students the best, most proper and universal standard of Spanish they can learn, as well as making sure that they gain solid exposure to the art, literature and culture of Spain and Latin America,” said Isabella & Ferdinand co-founder Pilar Frank-O’Leary.
“In our classes, children might learn to say their shapes and colors in Spanish while they study the life and Cubist art of Pablo Picasso or learn how to conjugate action verbs while they sing a song about the Cervantes’ seminal novel Don Quijote de la Mancha,” she added.
Only original materials or content native to Spain and Latin America are used.
Studies have shown that by learning a foreign language in a cultural context, children achieve fluency at a faster rate, gaining a more comprehensive array of vocabulary and oral expression in that target language.
In a recent study, Oxford University linguist Dr. Bernard Spolsky states, “Learning a foreign language from a cultural perspective in the early stages of learning can enable the learner to progress beyond basic communication levels to a fuller mastery of the intricacies of the language.”
Alexandra Migoya, co-founder of Isabella & Ferdinand, explains, “By learning through culture, children also become more engaged learners, gaining a love, respect and appreciation for the Spanish language for life.”
All of Isabella & Ferdinand’s classes are taught in an immersion environment exclusively by qualified, native Spanish-speaking teachers who have a true passion for teaching children.
Music — including traditional songs from Spain and Latin America and songs from the academy’s acclaimed CD Olé & Play! The Songs of Isabella & Ferdinand Spanish Language Adventures — as well culturally focused art projects and role-playing and story-telling — are hallmark elements of the classes. Students are encouraged to become conversational as soon as possible, learn correct pronunciation and a wide array of vocabulary and phrases in Spanish.
Isabella & Ferdinand board member, 12-time Emmy award winning journalist Patricia Andreu enthusiastically supports the new Miami presence.
She states, “Since my daughter was born, my husband and I have searched for ways to reinforce the Spanish we’ve taught her at home and that she’s learned in school. That’s why I am thrilled that Isabella & Ferdinand is opening in South Florida. I know my daughter will love going to class thanks to their energetic and creative teachers and the unique curriculum that emphasizes cultural as well as language fluency.”
Jennifer Stearns Buttrick, another board member who is a respected community leader and parent of three Isabella & Ferdinand students, adds, “I am so excited that Isabella & Ferdinand Academia de Español will have a permanent home in South Florida with classes in Coral Gables and Key Biscayne. Our three children have participated in the program’s exceptional summer camp for the past two years with excellent results and I am thrilled to be able to continue their Spanish language studies at Isabella & Ferdinand during the school year. The program’s immersion environment teaches the children to think in Spanish and its emphasis on music and cultural exploration creates an incredibly fun learning experience. My kids can’t wait for the classes to start!”
Isabella & Ferdinand’s new Miami center is located at 250 Bird Road, Suite 100, just steps from the Village of Merrick Park.
In addition, Isabella & Ferdinand will be offering Saturday afternoon classes at the Key Biscayne Community Center located at 10 Village Green Way, Key Biscayne.
Registration for classes is now open at http://www.isabellaandferdinand.org. Space is limited. An open house for families will be held at Isabella & Ferdinand’s Coral Gables learning center on Sept. 23 from 2-5 p.m. For more information send an email to: [email protected].