Broward — One concern that many parents share is that their children may regress academically over the lazy summer months when learning new things takes a back seat to three months of merriment. Camp Lingua offers a fascinating solution by allowing children to do both – in this case, learning a new language while having fun.
The camp, located at Parkway School in Davie, offers children the opportunity to learn Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese or English in week-long sessions that combines visual, auditory and physical practice in a language immersion environment which stimulates language acquisition.
According to testimonials from parents, the camp is a hit. Paula Fonte said that the camp helped her daughter to learn to speak up. “The experience at Camp Lingua this summer was fantastic. The staff was very supportive and helpful. My daughter really developed leadership skills and came out of her shell, so to speak.”
Johana C. Galavis is the program director and co-founder. She said that their full immersion approach has instructors speaking to the children in the language of their choice at least 80 percent of each day and everything about the camp, from the activities, to how the children are group, is designed to help them to learn a new language.
“The children are grouped by their ages, not proficiency. With a full immersion program, it doesn’t really matter which level they’re in because we’re constantly speaking to them in that language. The good thing about mixed levels is that some kids are more advanced than other kids, so they can help out the ones that don’t know as much,” said Galavis, who has also participated in language learning research for young children through Florida Atlantic University.
Camp Lingua’s approach makes learning a new language easier by giving children a chance to see, hear and put a language into action. A combination of state-of-the-art methodology and materials – including story videos, vocabulary DVDs, CDs, scripts and guides literally surround children with new language while ensuring a natural language learning experience. Learning a second language at a young age can pay dividends for a child’s future as bilingual adults typically have more career options than adults who speak only one language.
Ricardo Torrijos said that he was pleased with the camp because it is “fun, safe and the kids get a sneak peak of what speaking another language is about. They not just get language classes but also an immersion into its culture.”
For children learning a new language, the program takes their level into consideration when developing how they will be taught.
“Our approach towards each individual child is very customized. If they don’t know anything, we will partner them up with a kid who knows a little more. We also use a lot of props, and use the board to try to act things out,” Galavis shared.
Translating is a no-no, she said, “because then kids kind of wait for the translation. We use everything, all of our senses to explain the vocabulary and different topics that we cover.”
Alexandra Baumann sums up the camp’s appeal for parents concerned about their children losing academic progress during the summer. “Camp Lingua is both fun and educational. Our kids came home with smiles on their faces every day.”
The full immersion approach has children learning without realizing it.
“We teach them language through culture as well, so we teach them about a different country where that language is spoken each week, and within that country, they get to do music and dance theater, cooking, arts and crafts,” Galavis explained. “They get to explore each country, their traditions and their customs and the geography, so they see where it’s located.”
Using age-appropriate textbooks chosen according to their level of proficiency, campers learn vocabulary, grammar, conversational skills, reading and writing. In addition to immersing the campers into the languages, the program includes a wide variety of activities that allow children to practice what they learn. Imagine having to speak only in Spanish while playing basketball, softball, baseball, soccer, kickball, volleyball, water games, yoga and gymnastics.
The program begins on June 8 with rates that range from $225 to $275 per week. The final two sessions in July and August offer Spanish only.
For more information or to register, please visit camplingua.com.