Chiquitots has launched their program for teaching Spanish to children ages 2-6 in Delaware preschools. The program was conceived by Wendy Ash, founder and director, and further developed with the help of her partner and educational coordinator, Andye Daley. The method was influenced by the linguistic teachings of Dr. Stephen Krashen and Dr. Paul Pimsleur, as well as language educator Ana Lomba.
“I was teaching Spanish to my daughter at home and observed how she was being taught Spanish in school. I noticed the emphasis on grammar and overwhelming vocabulary instead of phonetics. Our program strongly encourages children to physically speak Spanish with limited high frequency vocabulary and phrases.”, said Wendy Ash. “I, myself, was surprised with the results. Monolingual children would see us in the halls and speak Spanish unprompted. Even children who were introverted, came from a bilingual home that spoke other than Spanish, or were developmentally delayed responded positively.“
In the Fall of 2012, Delaware preschools Bright Horizons and Babes on the Square added Chiquitots to their educational curriculum. Both schools had previously used other Spanish programs, but through trials, observation and feedback, Chiquitots’ method proved to be more effective for language acquisition and retention. In the beginning of 2013, a Goddard School added Chiquitots to their curriculum. Bright Horizons then chose Chiquitots for one of the classes to be featured as a “Classroom of the Week” on its corporate Facebook page.
“Our lesson units repeat the same content via role playing with puppets, arts and crafts, games, and music. It not only engages and keeps the children focused, but since every child learns differently, each medium will reach each child.” explains Andye Daley.
The formation of Chiquitots could not have been better timed since Governor Jack Markell’s World Language Expansion Initiative is stressing the importance of acquiring a second language. Chiquitots also believes that children who learn Spanish in their early years creates the building block for them to succeed in a future global market.