Our teaching approach at Aprende con Amigos, is driven by a variety of research, teaching experience and theories, but Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences is embedded in all we do. His theory identifies seven intelligences including: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Although most schools only value the first two, we value them all and provide a learning environment that utilizes a variety of educational philosophies, methods and strategies to support Gardner’s theory. These include, but are not limited to, Reggio Emilia, High/Scope Preschool Curriculum, and the Waldorf and Montessori philosophies. Our collaborative approach allows us to choose the best assets from each method to design a one-of-a-kind preschool environment allowing children to develop skills in all seven intelligences.
Our curriculum approach implements the research-based philosophy that learning in depth about a student chosen topic is more meaningful, memorable and effective than a teacher-chosen curriculum focused on a breadth of topics. We begin each semester with a “Big Idea” and allow our students’ interests to drive our curriculum. It is our hope that students are enrolled in our program for two years. The rotating “Big Ideas” for the two school years are Me and My Family beginning in September and My Neighborhood and My City beginning in February in year one and Up in the Sky beginning in September and Down on the Ground beginning in February in year two. The first year is social studies based and the second year is science based.
Our students’ ability to learn about topics in depth encourages collaborative project work, problem solving, exploration, and discovery learning through hands-on experiences. A student-driven curriculum is exciting, allows children to use their background knowledge and taps into children’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder about the world thereby making Spanish acquisition easy, comfortable, and effective.
Our approach to Spanish language acquisition
We implement a research-based 90/10 model where 90% of the day is spoken in Spanish and 10% is spoken in English. This method makes certain students have opportinities to be exposed to Spanish in all academic areas to ensure language and content objectives are met. In addition, each month both conversational and academic vocabulary and speaking goals will be identified and shared with parents and students. These goals will stem from student driven topics related to our “Big Idea”.
Children will meet monthly language goals through an active learning environment where students learn Spanish through fun, relevant, and purposeful activities. We understand that goal setting and methodical implementation based on students’ current interests and motivations is the key to successful Spanish language acquisition. We will also improve acquisition by implementing a variety of techniques and strategies to make learning more comprehensible.