Elementary Spanish Program1919 14th Street, Suite 421, Boulder, CO 80302
Register before May 16th and receive a $50 discount!
The Elementary Spanish Program would like to welcome you to another exciting year of Spanish! Our organization was started in Boulder 35 years ago, when a group of Boulder parents and teachers decided to stand up for early-age secondary language acquisition, after the BVSD cut it out of the standard curriculum (due to budget constraints). Unless your child attends a charter, private, or dual-language school, a foreign language is probably not offered until middle school. ESP exists to provide young children with before- or after-school Spanish classes at their respective schools. We strongly believe that it is vital that children begin to learn a second language at the earliest age possible. We are proud to serve 674 students this year!
We are actively seeking Parent Advocates to be representatives of our organization in their neighborhoods and respective schools. We also invite you to attend one of our monthly meetings of the Board of Directors. If you are interested in becoming involved or even just volunteering a few hours a month, please contact our office at 303-440-7196.
On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank each and every person that has contributed to the existence and success of the program. Your commitment and dedication to the broader education of our children is sincerely appreciated! Please contact me if you have any thoughts for the future of the Elementary Spanish Program or the relationships within the community and the school districts.
In this issue:
This year we are especially pleased to welcome a very high percentage of returning students. We work very hard to bring Spanish language and culture to all students at all levels. It is our goal that students who participate in the program through elementary school reach a level of communicative Spanish where they can transfer the classroom dialogs to real-life situations. ESP students also learn to develop reading and writing skills, as well as an understanding of the basic grammar necessary for continued Spanish learning. Most importantly, students prepare for a life-long interest in language learning and intercultural exchange.
The number of levels (classes) offered at your school depends on the number of students in the program. Optimal class sizes consist of eight to twelve children. We mainly recruit students through “word of mouth.” Parent and school support is vital to the success of our program in your area; we not only rely on your feedback to optimize the classes but also on your help to spread the word about the program, the curriculum, and the differentiated levels.
The two basic fundamentals in our program comprise listening and speaking. Over the years, basic vocabulary is expanded upon, and writing and reading skills follow. Pronunciation is presented through rhymes, poems, children’s books, songs and games, but also through reading paragraphs and exercises that analyze the differences in English and Spanish phonetics. Classes are interactive and dialogs are part of the daily lesson plans. Different types of questions and answers are introduced during each lesson. The first step in communication is to be able to talk about oneself and engage in conversation with others. Through the years, we continue working on vocabulary. For example, most young Spanish students embrace a large bank of nouns or simple phrases. While knowing nouns is very helpful, one must also learn other vocabulary and parts of speech, such as verbs and adjectives, in order to speak a language in full sentences.
ESP is an immersion program. Teachers teach most of the class in Spanish and incorporate songs, games, poems, body language and gestures, and repetitive language exercises, among many other fun activities, to reinforce language acquisition at age-appropriate levels. ESP students use our standard curriculum by McGraw-Hill, ¡Viva el Español! Other workbooks and supplementary material are provided, depending on the level, such as Español con los Pérez by Pandora Languages, for our older children, and our own “Yo” book for kindergartners and 1st graders. In our program, a child can begin in kindergarten and proceed through different levels up through 5th grade.
Parents and middle school Spanish teachers tell us that ESP students experience the joy of being well prepared for middle and high school; Spanish often becomes a favorite subject. Many ESP students test into high school Spanish when they are in middle school. Other parents decide to keep their children at the middle-school level even though the children are at the top of the class, as the joy of learning and doing well inspire the children to excel in not only Spanish but other subjects. Often, students will pursue a third language in high school or college.
We are dedicated to offering the best classes to meet the needs of your children. We encourage you to contact us to share your thoughts or if we may be of some assistance in answering any questions that you may have.
The Elementary Spanish Program has given me the honor of writing a bit in this newsletter about my experience as a teacher. I have been with ESP for the last three years and have had the fortune to see and do many things. I would first like to applaud this program. ESP has made extreme organizational and educational progress in the short time I have been with the program. I offer heartfelt thanks to the organization for the tireless work and dedication to their staff and students. In my time here I have had the opportunity to teach all ages and levels of students. I began my first class at ESP with kinder-garteners. It was the light of my day to feed off their energy and push them toward learning and loving Spanish through songs, games, verbal repetition, etc. Teaching kindergarteners, as ESP taught me, is about capturing the student's interest for the material. It is important to create a learning environment where they are having fun while they are learning, lighting that fire for learning so that children desire to progress later in life with the language. I have recently had the pleasure to move into teaching reading and writing. Your children truly never cease to amaze me in their Spanish-speaking abilities. ¡Viva el Español! and Español con Los Perez serve as great tools in teaching these upper-level elementary classes. ESP has truly spent a great deal of time developing and searching a curriculum that will challenge and interest the children. The students passing through this Elementary Spanish Program will have the upper hand in Spanish for the rest of their educational career for having put in time at an early age. Thank you parents for the opportunity you have given me to teach your children while learning a great deal about teaching myself.
ESP will offer additional beginning-level classes at the following schools:
Classes start the week of January 11th
20 classes $200 + $15 workbook = total $215
Contact the ESP office for more information, (303) 440-7196
2009-2010 School-year Statistics
On December 31st, families all across Ecuador gather to celebrate the end of the year and welcome in the New Year. “Año Viejo” literally, “Old Year” is a festive celebration which begins early in the morning with preparing the house for guests. The women spend the day cooking and cleaning in anticipation of a house full of extended family. Bunches of grapes are prominently set on the table to be eaten at 11:59pm. Each person must eat twelve grapes while making twelve wishes for the upcoming year before the stroke of midnight.
In smaller towns, men dress up as widows and seek blessings from their neighbors. These disguised men are “widowed” because when the old year, personified as a man, passes, his “wife” is left behind.
The most anticipated part of the celebration is the burning of the “año viejo,” a puppet made to look like a politician, celebrity, sports figure, or cartoon character. These puppets are made of old clothes or paper mâché and stuffed with sawdust and firecrackers. They represent all that was bad in the previous year. Often, families pin a list of the prior year’s regrets, failures, and anger to the “año viejos.” At midnight, families armed with kerosene and matches, lay the puppets in the street, and set them on fire. According to Ecuadorian writer Juana Córdova Pozo, "This tradition is a powerful feature of our culture. For us, it is an important act of renewal. It helps us to partly erase the past, both the good and bad. We are leaving things behind that must be left behind.”
This tradition dates back at least two centuries. Although the origin is largely a mystery, some historians believe that the practice combines ancient Andean rituals with Spanish colonialist’s religious rites. The practice, begun in Ecuador, has now spread to many other Latin American countries.
You can see videos of the celebration on YouTube:
For information about Ecuadorian festivals and celebrations, see:
The Elementary Spanish Program is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization. Your donation will be highly appreciated and is tax-deductible!
ESP thanks its many volunteers and donors whose generosity makes it possible to keep our tuition affordable. In particular, we’d like to recognize:
ESP Computer Maintenance & Repair - Joe Barger
ESP Web site Design, Maintenance, and Upgrades - Dean Garyet
Principals and School Staff
ESP Board Members