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JLeslie's avatar

Would you pay for beginner Spanish classes for your elementary age children?

Asked by JLeslie (48230 points ) October 8th, 2009

A question was just asked about whether children should learn a foreign language at an early age. I actually, when I first moved to TN, thought about giving Spanish classes to neighborhood kids. It would be fairly informal and fun to get them started on feeling comfortable in another language and learning the basics. I was thinking young children, I was hoping there might be a workbook available that has fun exercises and I could help them with pronounciation, and maybe do projects like make churros on the day we learn the vocabulary for various foods, stuff like that.

After seeing the answers from the collective, I am revisiting this idea. Here are my additional question:

- What ages do you think would be interested?

- Can it be in my home, or would I need a “space” maybe at the school, if they will let me use it (the lem school is accross the street from me).

- Should the class be 30 minutes? 45, an hour?

- How much would you be willing to pay? Plus, keep in mind you would have to pay for the workbook if I use a workbook (I think I would as a guide).

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28 Answers

MissAnthrope's avatar

I have no idea what this service is worth, so I can’t comment on that, other than to say I would pay for this if I had kids. It’s best to start kids on language at a young age, as they’re sponges and learn readily. In addition, they’re still learning their native language, so really, they’re primed for learning vocabulary and language structure.

I went to a private girls’ school in 3rd and 4th grade, and had French classes. We focused mainly on vocabulary, but I learned quite a bit during that time. I think we all generally enjoyed it, too. I later went on to excel in languages, particularly English, French, Italian, and Spanish. (the latter three are similar enough that once you know one, it’s far easier to learn the others)

Also, I was a nanny for a family for 9 years. They were caucasian and spoke only English. The eldest went to Chinese school from kindergarten on and was alarmingly fluent in it by 5th grade. So there is definite benefit to teaching kids at a young age.

How long the classes are I think depends on the age of your audience. I think 45–60 minutes should be okay, as that is the length of most of their elementary school classes, so they’re used to sitting still and focusing for that amount of time. I don’t see any problem with holding the classes at your house, either.

Val123's avatar

I sure would! If I had the money…

Val123's avatar

I have a bad, bad habit of not reading things all the way through before responding. To answer your questions:
Ages: 3 and up, although three year olds are kinda hard to handle in groups! And that’s something to consider. It would be tough to teach little kids alongside bigger kids, like 10 year olds. Perhaps two, or more, separate classes.
space Yes, you could do it in your house, if you have the space to designate one room for it. A spare bedroom would work.
class time It would depend on the ages, of course. No more than an hour though.
Cost How many days a week would this class be? Perhaps $25 per class?
I guess another question I might have is, would there be any “legal” issues with teaching groups of kids? I would hope not, no more than if you wanted to start a non-registered daycare, but it would probably be best to check. I would imagine there wouldn’t be too many hoops to jump through. Might see the rules for homeschooling to get a feel.
GO FOR IT!!

JONESGH's avatar

I would definitely pay for my kids (if I had any) to take Spanish classes. One of my best friends took a year of French when she was 5 years old and still remembers most of it!
I think you might want to use space at the school, not that you’re a creep but I’m not sure how many parents are comfortable with their children in your home. Keep the classes at 30 minutes since children don’t have very long attention spans. I would charge around $20–5 a class considering most classes I have taken outside of school have cost around there.
Good luck!

Haleth's avatar

If you’re charging for the service, you might not be able to do this in a public space like the school. It would probably be ok to have the classes in your own home. There are plenty of home-based daycares, and I had piano lessons in one of my neighbor’s homes as a kid.

I… actually probably wouldn’t pay for this service. My little brother and sister have Spanish immersion classes at their public elementary school, and there are plenty of similar programs for other languages. If a parent is motivated enough to put their child in foreign language classes, they are probably willing to do the work to find an immersion program in their local school. Then again, maybe there is enough demand for your service as well, or you offer something special.

Grisaille's avatar

Absolutely.

Learning a new language challenges you to think differently and outside the boundaries of your native tongue. This is beneficial to nearly everyone. I’m not sure how much they go for or the average length if you wanted to purchase private classes, but I’m under the assumption that any foreign language class would be worth the money – within bounds of reason, of course.

As for you teaching the class, that’s a tough one.

- What ages do you think would be interested?

Perhaps a better question is parents of what age child would a Spanish class be better marketed to. I’m going to say K-5; chances are that parents are still obsessed with having a super-intelligent, multi-talented kid. Also, the children should be easier to work with; you could even have some sort of buddy system where the older kids are paired with the younger kids. Because a fifth grader has significantly higher comprehension of the English language as well as logic skills, yet are still children themselves and may be able to explain a construct easier to a younger child than even yourself (using cultural references, etc), and are easier to seduce with a bit of a power trip, this might work in your favor. I’d look into something like that.

- Can it be in my home, or would I need a “space” maybe at the school, if they will let me use it (the lem school is accross the street from me).

That’s for you to decide. How large is your home? I’d try to shake things up a bit; I’ve been reading a book on the human memory. In it, it explains that the more you change your environment where you are learning, the higher chance there is for recall later in life. Basically, we tend to associate things we learn with our environment. Think of your high school biology class or something, and try to recall the names of the students in it. Chances are, you won’t get very far if you are just trying to remember the names and faces; if you try to remember where the other kids sat, where you were in relation to your friends, the people sitting around your best friend, etc – chances are your recall would be significantly higher. However, if you were to have had classes in a myriad of different settings, these names and faces would be free from the “location association,” and your remembrance rate would be very high as you don’t have just one memory landmark to rely on (the classroom). The more environments you have leaned in, the more objects, settings, contexts, settings and situations you have to associate with whatever material it is you are learning, the higher the chance of retrieval. Our memory works as a tree would – you want to get to that fruit high above but can’t reach (recall) it, instead, you move from one branch to another to get it (and the more branches you have to work with, the easier and faster it is). Just some interesting perspective.

What I would do is – if you house is big enough – try to keep that as headquarters and see if you can borrow a school classroom every now and again and plan trips outside. Perhaps even your front lawn (assuming you have one!), the local park, anywhere that you could go that would shake things up a bit (with parent’s permission, of course). This serves two purposes: The aforementioned memory association example and helps kids get on their feet in this rather lazy society we have today. It’s fun for them and should be for you, too.

- Should the class be 30 minutes? 45, an hour?

This is dependent on how frequently you are willing to host the class. If it’s bi-weekly, I’d go for 45 minutes, just enough time for hard learning and a bit of activity. Weekly, an hour. More frequently (three times a week or more), go for half an hour. You want this to be fun for the kids as well; don’t want to wear the little booger factories out.

- How much would you be willing to pay? Plus, keep in mind you would have to pay for the workbook if I use a workbook (I think I would as a guide).

I have no idea, and this is where I fail. Haha, hopefully someone could give you insight here, I suck with these things. Take note of local activities in the area; how much is karate class? After school? Piano/vocal classes? Anything of the sort can help you price well – especially considering that the market for these types of things are varied around the country.

Good luck!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JLeslie Ok, I didn’t read all the posts here yet.

I’m a mom. As you know, my son is 4. I’d pay $15–20 per lesson if the lesson was 45mins to an hour…$10—$12 for half an hour.

I’d gladly pay for the workbook, and any be willing to contribute to any other materials you thought you’d need to assist my son’s grasp of the lessons.

As a parent, I’d find it most useful if I could back up his lessons at home with a practice sheet for the week (meaning you’d have to have a pronunciation for parents that aren’t familiar with the language).

I’d actually prefer the lessons to be in someone’s home. I think there would be less distractions in that situation and there’d be less overhead for you, so my money would be better utilized toward your materials.

Wish you lived near me. I can’t find anyone in my area willing to teach him. I’ve been thinking buying about Rosetta Stone

brinibear's avatar

If I had children, I would. But there are some special schools that is a half day immersion. My sister is learning to both read and write Spanish, for half of the day, and the other half is like any other school. These schools are known as Language Immersion Charter Schools here is some information on the one she goes to.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks for all of the answers so far. I was thinking very young, probably K-3rd grade. Lessons would be very basic, more focused on fun for the kids. I was thinking each class would have a theme. Home (all of the words associated with a home) family (mom, dad, grandma, etc.) clothing, food, parts of the body, counting, and on. I want to make it easy for children to miss a class and go to the next class, I don’t want them to build too much on each other. So this is very basic. I might have a specific class for first timers, like alphabet, and basic phrases. Maybe if it does well and parents want it, I would do a more serious class. It is more aimed at exposure. Where I live there is very little.

I was estimating asking for $10 to $15 a lesson, so it sounds like I could do that from your answers. I am thinking twice a week maybe combining pre-school and K, 1st and 2nd, and a class for 3rd, but with some flexibility, depending on the times that fit for each parent. So maybe I would be “teaching” 6 classes a week, depending on how popular it is/gets. I wonder if it will work as an after school thing? Or, should I do it during the summer only?

I was thinking of doing it in my family room, or my living room which are very open rooms, and I could set up a few longish rectangular tables, maybe 4–10 kids per class?

@SpatzieLover I am not keen on homework for young children in general, so I would not give an assignment, but certainly a parent could go over the classwork, and I would have suggested materials for parents to buy.

@brinibear Where I grew up outside of DC we had immersion schools, and in FL they have international magnet schools near where I used to live that teach second languages, but here where I live they don’t start teaching in the public school until high school and the community is very homogenous, so the young children have little exposure to other languages.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JLeslie I see people have brought up Immersion Schools as an answer to why this might not work for you. Trust me, there are plenty of parents that chose to either homeschool or to “afterschool” their children. Not all of us want our kids in an immersions setting. I just want my son to atvleast learn conversational Spanish.

My SIL have a Mandarin tutor for her seven homeschooled kids.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JLeslie I wasn’t suggesting homework. Even his weekly dance classes ask him to practice and for us to oversee his practice.

brinibear's avatar

@JLeslie This is the first school of it’s kind in my area. If they had the school when I was younger, I would have went there, but of course, they taught foreign language in high school out here. And to be honest, I really didn’t learn anything.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover I like the idea of the parents being provided with a sheet on how to pronounce words…ok, I see what you mean…I have to give your idea some thought. I just want to make sure it doesn’t turn into homework.

noodle_poodle's avatar

welll…depend on the money situation and the kids….kids should be kids and have good fun so if you can find a teacher that can teach them spanish without them feeling like its a chore then they are worth their weight in gold (if not they may just feel your torturing them or something)
...Its always a good idea for kids to learn a second language…i wish I had as a child

JLeslie's avatar

Just to be clear, none of the children are going to wind up fluent from my class, it’s just a starter, something to do after school with an educational purpose.

Val123's avatar

Hmmm. After school? Do you know how many parents would jump on that so they could save on after school daycare?!

sjmc1989's avatar

Do elementary schools not have childeren in Spanish classes that are required anymore? When I was in elementary school I took it K-6th and we had to pick one semester to do it in Jr. High.

Val123's avatar

It was never required when I went to school, or for my kids.

sjmc1989's avatar

Hmm I thought that it was normal for schools to do that. It might be because my county had a huge population of hispanics considering how small of a town it was because of our popularity in Christmas tree farming. That might have something to do with it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

We have no Hispanics residing in my village/area, and no Spanish in elementary until after 3rd grade.

JLeslie's avatar

Y’all check out gailcalled’s answer on teh other thread:

“I taught French to third and fourth graders and another teacher did it for fifth and sixth grades. We used no textbooks and no English, a lot of props and lots of body language. The kids got the accent and the rhythm immediately since they were still fearless and unselfconscious. They were willing to put their lips, teeth and tongues in odd positions.

We played games; Simon Dit: Canard, Canard, Oie, Oie: Bingo and Buzz using the French numbers:sang French nursery rhymes: had puppet shows…It was wonderful.”

JLeslie's avatar

@sjmc1989 the first year they offer a foreign language in public school in my town is 9th grade.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JLeslie That’s how my middle school taught us Spanish. She also had us bring in packed suitcases for a week of “pretend” trips to Mexico

sjmc1989's avatar

Thats how they taught us in elementary as well. They made it fun so it wasn’t like a regular class. I think we did it also just once or twice a week.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I would pay for it if it were a reasonable price. As it is not a “necessity” the price should be a bit lower because some people pay less for things that aren’t deemed necessary especially in a bad economy.

I’d say for a once-a-week class I’d pay 50–100 a month. This is taking into account that it is only a 30–45 minute class. I think short class time is necessary for a child so that’s great.

The more interactive and game-friendly the class is the better i would like it and I assume the more the child would like it. It takes a lot to keep children engaged.

As children learn languages better at a young age I’m thinking of ages 4–8.

I’d be fine with it in your house as long as I got to stay when I felt it was appropriate and deemed your house to be safe.

emilyrose's avatar

Great idea—I want my kids to be bilingual in Spanish and English (and other languages too!)

seazen_'s avatar

Si, but also for Hebrew.

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