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.
“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.