Kids in the after-school program at our Doria community in Irvine love Crystal Peralta, Jamboree’s onsite Resident Services Coordinator, who is bilingual and frequently speaks to parents and other residents in Spanish. In fact, after observing these interactions, many of the students decided they wanted to learn to speak Spanish, too. And, since our after-school programs are filled with fun activities planned around the interests of the kids, Spanish classes were soon started.
This flexibility in after-school programming is an intentional part of Jamboree’s REACH approach to customize services that enrich the lives of residents. REACH is an acrostic focused on five simple values, which frames our services for kids, families, seniors, and those living with special needs. The new Spanish class was created in alignment with the A value – Active and Engaged Learning.
The weekly Spanish classes start with a warm-up game where Crystal tests the students’ existing knowledge and recall by asking them to match words with the correct translation, practicing their numbers, colors, and more. The students then move on to worksheets and other creative activities to learn new words and phrases. Two students, Kassandra and Armando (12-year-old twins), are native Spanish speakers and partner with Crystal to help support their peers with the assignments, demonstrating the core skill of collaboration.
The Spanish class is an example of how the values for Active and Engaged Learning (creativity, innovation, and flexibility) are being brought to life in the after-school program. Students have become so engaged with actively learning Spanish that their activities now extend to the weekly English class, where they play the same games substituting Spanish words. For example, the kids enjoy playing a game where they move either to the left or right of a line depending on which day of the week Crystal calls out. They move left when she says Lunes (Monday), Martes (Tuesday), or Miércoles (Wednesday), and move right when she says Jueves (Thursday), Viernes (Friday), or Sábado (Saturday).
Now that the students are comfortable exploring a new language, they’ve begun to ask Crystal if they can start learning and practicing conversation skills – a great step to REACH success in school, work and life.