All of us are always looking for fun ways to educate our children outside of their regular school. Recently, more parents are becoming aware of the benefits of having their children learn a second language and different ways of doing that are becoming more accessible.
Here I would like to take the opportunity to introduce you all to a wonderful class that exposes children to the beautiful language of Italy, appropriately called Italian Language Littles!
Before I get into it, I would like to point out that the class is for all levels. It doesn't matter whether your child doesn't know one word in Italian or if he/she is already proficient, the class is for everyone and any child can benefit from it. Also, it is not necessary to speak the language yourself to enroll them in the course.
Italian Language Littles is a weekly class that provides children with the experience of learning another language in a fun setting with the company of other kids. My son has been attending for about a year-and-a-half and absolutely loves it! My only regret is that we didn't find out about it sooner!
I speak Italian myself, but not fluently. And although I have been teaching him bits and pieces of the language since he was born, I was happy to find a course for his age group to help him learn in a structured manner. He has learned so much, and hearing the other kids speak Italian too has been very encouraging for him.
In the class, the kids play games, hear songs, read stories, make arts & crafts, and much more-but in Italian. Some people hear about a language class for young children and think it would be too academic and not interesting for the child, but I assure you this is not the case here! All the kids are having lots of fun and are captivated by the lessons. They are taught by truly kind and well-qualified instructors, husband and wife Matthew and Teresa, who are both great with the kids. They have two (well-behaved) children of their own who attend the classes as well.
Teresa, whose first language was Italian, teaches the younger age group (2-3 years). Matthew, who currently teaches high school Italian and lived in Florence while earning his Master's Degree, teaches the older group (4-plus years). In the past they taught the class together, but with enrollment on the rise they teach separately to accommodate twice the number of students.
My son has taken both teachers' classes and enjoys them both very much. They have taken the time to answer a few questions about their class for this review, and here is the Q & A:
The Mommy's Guide: What motivated you to begin an Italian language class for children?
Italian Language Littles: We always knew that we wanted to teach our children Italian because it is such an important part of who we are and our heritage. We looked for a program for toddlers in Italian to help us continue teaching [our first son] Italian. We did find one that was very good and he enjoyed it very much. However, it was in the city and it became a little much to make the trip into Manhattan every weekend. Eventually, we began toying with the idea that we could begin a program on Long Island for everyone who wanted their children to learn the language without the big commute. Being teachers ourselves with experience from the very young (Teresa certified early childhood/ elementary ed/ reading specialist) to high school (Matt, certified 7-12 Italian), we felt this was something we could do. Given our passion for our language and culture, the motivation to share that with anyone interested and our teaching expertise, we were sure we would be able to do it!