Early Childhood Enrichment: Spanish

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Beginning in pre-kindergarten, Fairmont students attend Spanish class once per week. In these early years, Fairmont’s Spanish teachers focus on exposing students to basic vocabulary and common phrases, while introducing the culture of Spanish speaking countries. As children progress through Fairmont, they will continue with introductory Spanish classes through 5th grade before beginning more intensive foreign language study in junior high.

With the foundational Spanish classes focusing on broad exposure to the language and culture, we recognize that our youngest students will not become fluent overnight.  We also know that early exposure to foreign language plays a significant role in brain development that benefits young students in all aspects of life. Research on early language acquisition from Cornell University and Northwestern University describe the following benefits of early exposure to a foreign language:

1) Early learning environments are more conducive to language learning because they are rich in language. Language is generally presented to young children “in attention-grabbing, digestible bundles that are targeted skillfully at their developmental level. Caregivers typically speak in ways that are neither too simple nor too complex… This high-quality and high-quantity experience with language—a special feature of how people communicate with young children—often results in successful language learning. It gives children rich, diverse, and engaging opportunities to learn about the sounds, syllables, words, phrases, and sentences” that make up a language.

2) Children with early exposure to a foreign language show an increase in attention span and focus, even when distracted by outside stimuli. Similarly, they “appear to perform a little better… on tasks that involve switching between activities.” This is particularly beneficial as they become expected to complete independent work and stay on-task through small group rotations in a classroom setting.

3) The cognitive advantages of learning a foreign language increase future academic success, particularly in other language-based skills. Certain aspects of memory are also enhanced, such as “generalizing information from one event to a later event,” which is an important part of cognitive development and the application of knowledge.

4) Learning a foreign language enhances a child’s sensitivity to subtleties in communication, such as tone of voice. This advances their social skills by enabling them to “better understand others’ perspectives, thoughts, desires, and intentions.” This awareness builds empathy and improves their ability to navigate complex social interactions.

Fairmont prides itself on its dedicated and experienced Spanish teachers, who bring these added benefits to our young students. Not only are students having fun while learning a language, but they’re growing both cognitively and socially! Here are some ideas for helping students of any age get a better grasp on learning another language!

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”