Parent Name: Jeanette S.
Child Age: 5 years old
Years at Casa de Niños: 2 yearsWhat has your experience been like at Casa de Niños? “As a Spanish teacher, I have been well educated in the many benefits of being bilingual. Beyond being a skill that can serve students for the rest of their life, I know that bilingual people enjoy health benefits even later in life (such as slowing the effects of dementia and Alzheimer's disease). In my personal life, it has equipped me to build friendships and even family members that I would not have been able to connect with in English. I remember starting down the road of bilingual education and my own parents were concerned that maybe we should focus on teaching our son in English first. They were worried about language delays and that ultimately, our son would not be equipped to thrive in the English speaking school if we were focusing so much on Spanish. I remember citing studies to my mom and reassuring her that I was absolutely sure that my little boy's mind was big enough to handle both languages. In my own experience as an educator, I have met many students who are enriched by being able to use language to navigate 2 cultures, and much as I anticipated, I have seen this same success in my own child. It was just as I had read in books. He developed 2 different frameworks-- one in Spanish for people he communicated with on a regular basis in Spanish, and another in English for everyone else. He is truly fluent in both languages, and I attribute much of his ability to the time he spent at Casa. Beyond the mere linguistic component of the school, I also saw my son developing an awareness about the world and his place in it. He talked about different countries, recycling, the planets, and wildlife-- all in Spanish. I know that this ability to communicate will be a life skill that will change the course of my little boy's life, much like it has done for my own. What I did not anticipate as a side effect of my child's education at Casa was the family like and nurturing environment that Ms. Greene fosters. I definitely did not want an institutional environment for my little boy, and I expected that Casa would provide more individualized attention. Where the Montessori school exceeded my expectations was in the attention to details as well as the personal attention and guidance that the teachers and the director of the school gave me. As I had questions about my son's learning and how to direct him, they always had positive ideas about how to shape my child and they were anxious to work with me to provide my child with consistency between school and home expectations. This little bit extra made such a difference for me. Quickly, I developed absolute confidence in the teachers at Casa, since I could see that for them, their work with children is more than just a job. Their commitment is what makes possible the home cooked lunches with ingredients that are actually simple whole foods instead of processed microwave meals. Their understanding of the importance of movement and exploration in a child's life is why the little ones go outside even when it is chilly. They help in the garden. Most importantly, they develop a friendship that is genuine and real with the other children at Casa, as modeled by their teachers. I am so pleased with the beautiful experience my son enjoyed at Casa and I highly recommend it to other parents.” Why would you recommend Casa de Niños to a prospective parent? “Casa is a unique program in the St. Louis area. It is small, personalized and homelike. It doesn't rely on technology nor gimmicks to educate children. The teachers appreciate and build on the unique qualities of each child. They take the time to really know each child and their is genuine affection and respect fostered by this program. The bilingual component is an extra gift-- and as much as it may surprise some parents, children do adapt quickly. Their brains are uniquely ready to acquire language in an immersion setting. It isn't painful for them. There are no verb drills nor conjugation tests. Immersion is touted as the best way to learn a language and at Casa, this method is implemented very well.”