Club Amiguitos makes playmates of Spanish-, English-speaking preschoolers
Sitting in a circle in the KidZone, Truckee State Preschool children run through a Spanish rendition of “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” while English-speaking toddlers try to form the words of a new language.
It’s all part of the morning warm-up at Club Amiguitos.
Every Monday, toddlers get together at the KidZone for a Spanish-immersion play date. Truckee-parent Christina Wooley, who started the group, wanted an opportunity for her daughter to become bilingual at a young age, so she formed the group for Truckee children and their parents.
However, Club Amiguitos is not just a language lesson. It’s also an opportunity for English-and Spanish-speaking students to form bonds at a young age.
“A lot of parents think this is like a class,” Wooley said. “It’s more like a structured play date.”
Club Amiguitos begins with the group singing songs in Spanish. Then they play games using Spanish vocabulary. Then the group breaks to play in the KidZone.
Truckee State Preschool Executive Director Susan Bruno said this play date is unlike what the preschoolers have been involved in before. While past play groups have focused on State Preschool students’ exposure to English, Club Amiguitos was formed so English-speaking parents can expose their children to Spanish.
The Spanish focus, Bruno said, has allowed State Preschool parents to become the leaders in activities.
“Because the worlds are so separate, this is a place that through language, they can come together,” Bruno said. “Now the parents are starting to greet each other in the community.”
Most of the children, who come from English-speaking homes, in Club Amiguitos are still too young to speak, so it’s the parents who do most of the interacting during the play date.
Truckee-resident Amber Pierce said she practices Spanish with her daughter at home. Pierce’s daughter is still too young to speak much, but Club Amiguitos has still been beneficial for Pierce and her daughter.
“I wanted to expose my daughter to the Spanish language and to make Spanish-speaking friends,” Pierce said. “I don’t know Spanish, so I’m trying to learn key words at this point.”
Club Amiguitos meets every Monday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the KidZone. Contact Christina Wooley at 550-0989 for more information.
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