A. Immersion means that the children are completely immersed in the second language (Spanish) for the majority of their day. It is a natural, flowing part of their environment and, before long, it is completely natural.
Q. Is your school for Spanish speaking children?
A. Our preschool is for all children! Piccolino is for families that want their children to be exposed to a second language in the most natural and comfortable way.
Q. How do you teach Spanish to the children?
A. We don’t “teach” Spanish to the children. Language is not the content of instruction, but the vehicle for it. We have an emergent curriculum, with themes and topics but we speak Spanish. Spanish is everything we do! Our books are in Spanish, we do circle time in Spanish, we sing in Spanish.
Q. How will my child learn English?
A. There’s often the fear that children won’t get the English skills they need. That’s not the case. They get English from their peers, in their environment, from the media, at home, and in every other aspect of their lives. They are constantly exposed to it, and living in an English-speaking environment is enough for the children to be bilingual in both languages.
Q. What if my child feels lost or doesn’t understand?
A. We would NEVER let children feel lost because of a language barrier! Our first and foremost concern is the child. We want them to love their first experience of school, and we would never let them miss out on any experience at any moment because of a language issue. Our teachers will absolutely use English in the moment they notice the child needs it.
Q. My child already speaks another language, won’t they get confused trying to learn a third?
A. Children don’t have the hesitations or fears about language like adults do! To them, it is fun, a game, and it just is. They absorb language incredibly quickly and that’s true for one, two, or three languages at a time. Especially during the early years when language is so easily absorbed.
Q. Do all the teachers speak Spanish?
A. All of our teachers are fully fluent in both languages. Because we want the language that is spoken at our schools to be effortless and fluid, we seek native speaking teachers or teachers who learned the language abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. This makes the immersion experience real and organic.
Q. What if we don’t speak Spanish at home?
A. There are many ways to support your budding bilingual! You don’t need to speak Spanish to be able to support them. They will gladly tell you and teach you what they learn. We also offer many opportunities in parent communication so that you feel like you are part of their everyday lives. At Piccolino, we want our parents to be involved in any way they can, and our teachers and directors make sure that parents are getting all the information and opportunities they need to be part of our community.
Q. Do you provide food?
A. Although we don’t provide meals, we have a special tradition at Piccolino for morning snack. We enjoy “friendship fruit” each morning, where each child brings in a piece of fruit to share with the class. The fruit is then cut and shared with everyone. We see this as an opportunity to practice both healthy eating, as well as using it as an opportunity to learn about sharing.
Q. What is your sick policy?
A. If your child arrives at school with symptoms of illness or disease he or she will be sent home. We rely heavily on all parents to exercise good judgment in this matter. Should a child become ill at school, a parent or back-up person will be notified and the child will be isolated from the other children. He or she will be made comfortable with quiet activities and under the supervision of a staff member at all times, until he or she is picked up.
Q. What kinds of things do you do with the kids all day?
A. At Piccolino we follow the Multiple Intelligence Theory of Howard Garner. We provide structure for learning through active learning and meaningful experiences and activities. Teachers take the lead from the children and become aware of the children’s individual needs, strengths, and customize the curriculum based on the observation of the children’s interests. They then create learning opportunities that appeal to all the senses and tap on all areas of development and curriculum.