I’m not a linguist, as anyone would tell you, but I would dearly love to be. I have GCSE German, which means I can just about ask directions to the station and tell you I have a pet Guinea Pig. My GCSE French is better, but not much, from regular holidays to France over the past 10 years…
I have no grasp of Spanish at all. I never learnt it at school and, the few times I’ve been there, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve just resorted to speaking louder and gesticulating wildly. We’re in the process of applying for primary school places at the moment and some schools offer French and others offer Spanish from age 6. Brilliant! But how could I help with Spanish homework when all I can say is “two beers please”?! That would be an awkward parent evening…
I was mulling this over when I stumbled upon Spanishtastic, a class that teaches pre-schoolers the basics of Spanish through music, stories and play, and we couldn’t resist giving it a try!
Joanna runs the classes in small, friendly groups from her home in Purley. When we arrived, we felt instantly welcome and found a place in the circle of other mums and children, ready to start the class. Joanna started the classes just before Christmas and so a couple of the children already had a few weeks under their belts and it really showed. Little tots of under two were singing Spanish rhymes, introducing themselves in Spanish and counting to ten. I was very impressed!
In 45 minutes, we covered the story of the Ugly Duckling, the Five Little Ducks song, counting to ten, colours, emotions (happy, sad, angry etc), introducing ourselves, hello and goodbye.
Ages of the children ranged from a tiny tot of around 6 months old, to my 3.5 year old in this class, but you could see that they all got something out of it. Whilst Little Brother (15m) loved the music and songs (with all the props that got passed around) and the sensory elements (bubbles & crinkley parachute games), Big Brother actually came away with some words that he’s been using today. Hilariously, he hasn’t picked up on the obvious “Ola” or “Gracias” but instead has spent the afternoon merrily proclaiming to anyone who’ll listen that he is “Enfadado”.
Angry 3 year olds aside, I found the class brilliant too and was surprised at how easily I picked up words and phrases. Although it was obvious that little minds are much quicker to learn. All the mums I met had varying levels of Spanish themselves and different reasons for wanting their little ones to learn.
Joanna, a mum herself, is a natural with the children. Her relaxed and fun approach is a real hit and she’s obviously put a lot of time into creating the resources for the class. She’s fluent in Spanish and has a real passion for linguistics.
We loved our taster session and would highly recommend to anyone who’s curious about learning a language with their child. It’s fun and relaxed, so you and the little ones are absorbing the language as you play and there are no verb tables, conjugations or anything else that might put you off learning a language. All new customers are offered a free taster session, so pop along and see for yourself what it’s all about.
At the moment, classes run Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Purley, but Joanna is also looking at expanding into other areas soon.
Classes cost £6 per lesson and are booked in 6 weekly blocks. Joanna offers a sibling discount of 20% for additional children.
Contact Joanna on 07957503945 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free taster class or for more information.