Take Advantage of a Unique Approach to Learning Spanish

Spanish Lessons

It felt like I was perhaps having a Google maps faux pas as I turned down the dirt road, lemon tree branches brushing the car windows as we bumped along.

“They are saying welcome!” Bria announced excitedly from the back seat.

She had been looking forward to “school” all week, and had been positively bouncing all morning, as she anticipated her day at spanish lessons with Educacion Meraki.

After correcting one wrong turn, we pulled through a gate and up to a pretty two story white house, where a few people had started to gather on the steps.

Greetings were exchanged, and Bria learned she would be the lone girl in a group of six boys. As a trio of brothers from Denmark were introduced, she clung to me nervously.

“Are you ready to go inside?” the organizer, Ruth Stafford, asked, and she brightened up again.

“I heard we are going on a hike!” Bria said.

“We are going to do lots of things,” Ruth confirmed, and they were off.

***

Educacion Meraki has a unique approach to teaching language. Run by Ruth Stafford, an Irish primary school teacher, and Silvia von Wedel, an English artist and sculptor, the program is immersive and active.

Ruth explains it like this: “The idea behind all our courses is that everyone learns better whilst doing an activity. Therefore throughout the day there are various activities such as craft, baking, cooking, team games, sometimes walking in the beautiful countryside.”

As a worldschooling mom, I was so excited to learn of this program, and this way of teaching! It is a great fit for the way we educate our daughter.

Lunch at Spanish Lessons

“Obviously the objective is to learn Spanish so through all these activities the teacher will be teaching you through Spanish, learning new vocabulary, questions and answers, comprehension skills, and generally improving and learning new language skills,” Ruth added.

The courses focus on speaking, comprehension, listening and practical language skills.

Both the adult and child courses include enjoying a midday meal together, and learning a new recipe. The day Bria attended, they baked cookies together.

The lessons take part on their beautiful finca (estate) in the Guadalhorce Valley, just outside of the town of Pizarra. Surrounded by olive and citrus trees, the location is inspirational and a great place for exploring.

***

What’s better than watching your child’s joy when they don’t know you are there? At the end of the day, I returned a few minutes early and waited in my car as the class wrapped up. I was working on a story in my notebook when I saw her run by.

Huge grin on her face, running from place to place in a crowd of kids completing a scavenger hunt. Full of life and energy, speaking Spanish and loving where she is – what a fantastic feeling!

It doesn’t hurt that the place she is running around is a beautiful country home on a hillside, with a lovely garden and grove of lemon trees. That sun is shining, it is warm and pleasant. Who wouldn’t feel great?

As we drove home, my reluctant reader not only read to me, she read to me in Spanish! With the worksheets from her class in hand, Bria played “Spanish teacher” and taught me the things she had learned during her day.

Want to check out the program for yourself? Visit Ruth and Silvia’s website to learn more.

Comments

  1. genny

    The treasure of knowledge is the key to success. be bilingual is a great success. Buen articulo, es bueno que los ninos aprendan mas de un idioma. Excelente!

  2. I could just see the beauty as you told this story. What a lovely way to learn a language but also about a culture.

  3. Daisy

    Wow! I am absolutely intrigued! This is such an amazing and wonderful learning experience!!!

  4. What an interesting way to teach a new language! I bet this can be applied in teaching children all sorts of new skills as well!

    1. crysta

      Yes! It totally can be — really involving the learner in what they are learning is an awesome way to engage and retain information.

  5. Barbara Alfeo

    Wow! Sounds like a pretty amazing place to learn.

  6. Welp! I’ve slacked off on my Spanish lessons and Bria has spurred me to continue. Alas, I can’t do an immersion course in Spain so Duolingo app has to suffice. You paint a lovely picture of the area and I could see them all in my mind’s eye.

  7. May I say, I love your writing style! Its very engaging and easy to follow. Just like reading a book. And yes, this is the kind of interactive learning I hope to implement once I have kids of my own. I wish my parents did something like that when I was little. Although with drama, arts and music classes, there would have been a lot on my plate haha!

  8. What an incredible approach to learning… It’s so beneficial to have kids truly engaged.

  9. I loved this article – and I so wish that we could have made it while we were in Spain. After 1 month in Costa Rica and 5 weeks in Spain our vocabulary is still limited to about 20 words and none of us can converse. May be next time …

    1. crysta

      That is how I felt at first, too! I had been to Costa Rica and Mexico, and even done some studying, yet I was weeks into a Spain trip and felt like I could barely understand a handful of words. Then a friend came to stay with us who had never been to a Spanish speaking country, and I realized we knew so much more than we thought! It helped with our confidence, for sure.

  10. This would be such an amazing way for learning. Having a child that is bilingual would be so awesome!

  11. I got a daughter who is nearly two and is already picking up Russian/English. Love trying different teaching methods to learn languages and hoping my daughter will pick up more in the near future.

  12. This is such a great way of teaching and learning! Really helpful in my approach to teaching my pre schoolers.

  13. Danila Caputo

    I think it’s so important to teach kids a new language when they are very young, especially if the teachers use the right methods. I love what they’re doing at Educacion Meraki!

  14. kids are like sponges! My kids take spanish at school. But thats only two days a week. I was thinking of getting a CD for us to listen to when we are in the car!

  15. I love the sound of this program! We don’t have anything like that where we are, but it’s inspired me for Samoan language study during our own worldschool. That’s true worldschool learning, using your surroundings to learn!

  16. While reading your post, I felt like you were talking to me. Such a natural and conversational style of writing. Its good to read these kind of articles off and on.

  17. YUKTI Agrawal

    Learning Spanish with education Meraki looks interesting and fun. I can see how relaxed kids are during their learning sessions. It is good that they teach through practical way and other various non-conservative methods.

  18. This is a amazing experience…I have a 3 year old daughter and i totally agree that learning another language is one of the best things we can do.

  19. What a great way to learn a language! I know I remember things a lot better when they are associated with a task, even writing down while listening, so I can imagine a fun thing to do like making cookies would really help you remember. Thanks for sharing!

  20. It’s so awesome that you are teaching another language to your kids so young, I wish I had this opportunity!

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