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Teaching Spanish to Young Children—More Tips

This is the second part in a series of tips for teaching Spanish to young children. You can employ these tips everyday in your preschool and elementary Spanish classes. Read Part Three.

1. BE DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE—When you are teaching young children a second language, it is not developmentally appropriate to explicitly teach grammar. Student workbooks are not effective either—it does not benefit students’ language acquisition to regurgitate isolated vocabulary on a worksheet. What is appropriate is giving children the opportunity to use their second language in a practical way in fun and meaningful contexts with lots of repetition.

2. MAKE CONNECTIONS—Connect the language to your students’ lives. This is easy because young children are so wonderfully enthusiastic about life. Using the target language you can talk about what your students are wearing, about what they had for breakfast, about their families and pets, about their friends and classes, about how they’re feeling, etc. Do this in every class you teach.

3. ENGAGE THE SENSES—Young children experience the world deeply through their senses. Engage their senses while you are teaching, and they will acquire their second language more deeply. You can do this by providing a diverse range of experiences in your lessons that engages your students’ senses: sing, chant, play, laugh, do drama, read, cook, eat, and do art projects.

Sonrisas Spanish School creates, publishes, and sells preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum and Spanish music for children. The Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum can be used to teach Spanish to children at the preschool and elementary level, as well as home school Spanish. The Sonrisas Curriculum consists of fun, effective, standards-based lessons for the most effective language-learning experience for kids—one based on human-to-human interaction. Sonrisas is a proud member of both Nnell and ACTFL.

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