Due to numerous requests from parents, Signal Mountain resident Mardi Leonard is teaching a second session of Spanish for preschoolers at Mountain Arts Community Center. The weekly class will be offered Mondays or Fridays for five weeks beginning Monday, Jan. 21 from 11 a.m. to noon either day.
"It will introduce them to a different language as well as a different culture and get them excited about learning," said Leonard.
The class is designed for children ages 2-6 who are not currently in elementary school, including preschoolers as well as home-schoolers.
"Studies show children in the preschool years pick up language a lot faster," said Leonard, who previously taught Spanish to preschoolers at St. Timothy's as well as to first- through fifth-graders at Thrasher Elementary.
Each session of her class has a different focus, such as food or color, which is incorporated into every lesson through songs or craft projects.
"My curriculum consists of things other than just repeating words," said Leonard. "I like to do things they can feel, touch and see, and we use a lot of different mediums to get to the point."
For a session on food Leonard might ask each of her students to bring in a different chopped vegetable, which they would mix together into a salsa during class as a fun way to remember the new words.
Students do not need to have completed the first session to be prepared for the second, though Leonard noted that the upcoming class features all-new material and activities for those who want to add to their knowledge from the previous session. Another five-week session will be offered at the conclusion of this session for those who wish to further (continue) their Spanish studies, she said.
"[The students] do retain a lot, but you have to keep practicing with them," said Leonard, who gives participants short homework assignments to help them remember what they have learned in class and to guide parents in following up the lessons at home.
Tuition per session is $95 for town of Signal Mountain residents and $110 for nonresidents. Participants may register up until the first day of class, though classes will be limited to around five students each.