Spanish teacher has to unlearn what she knew about teaching older students and discover new ways to teach Spanish to preschoolers
My Long Journey to Learn How to Teach Preschool Spanish
My name is Ana Lomba and I am originally from Madrid, Spain.
I have been teaching preschool Spanish to young children since 1999 when I founded my first Spanish preschool immersion program in Princeton, New Jersey.
Although I am a highly educated teacher and native Spanish speaker, my first steps in teaching Spanish to young kids was a total failure! I’ll tell you why in a moment…
Today I am a Parents’ Choice Award-winning author of several books and resources in Spanish, French and Chinese for young children. I lead workshops nationally for teachers and for parents, and help several language organizations to help promote early language education in the USA.
You can probably tell – I love teaching Spanish preschool. It is so rewarding to see the thrill young children get from learning Spanish!
And I’m passionate about helping other teachers, like you, to get the most out of it too.
Learning Spanish is Easy for Preschoolers!
Preschool is the perfect age to learn language. Young children find it easy to learn languages.
It’s what young kids do naturally. Their brains are wired to do it.
And, with the right kind of help, they LOVE it too!
But Teaching Spanish to Preschoolers is HARD!
Here’s the problem. Most of us who really want to teach Spanish preschool simply don’t have the education and resources we need to help those kids learn to their full potential!
I learned this the hard way…
My first day teaching Spanish to young children was a catastrophe!
My Painful Experience
It should have been easy for me, right? After all…
- I’m a native Spanish speaker
- I had taught Spanish to undergraduates at Binghamton University and at Princeton University for seven years.
- I had advanced degrees in Spanish and Latin American literature.
- I had also taught Spanish in a private Princeton middle school for a year.
- And, I was the mother of two young bilingual kids (three now)!
How Wrong I Was!
My first class was a parent-child group. I had spent two months organizing it, using all my skills, and it was a complete failure.
After a few weeks, I realized I had to abandon that direction, and go back to the drawing board.
I had to admit, my skills were not enough. I knew how to teach older students, but I had no idea how to teach preschool Spanish.
Where Could I Find Out What I Needed?
I set out to learn what I was missing. Surely someone must know the right way to teach Spanish to younger kids!
- I visited local preschools (none of which offered Spanish at that time).
- I subscribed to foreign language and early childhood organizations.
- I attended conferences.
- I participated in language teachers Internet groups.
- And bought tons of resources from catalogs and the Internet.
Many of the things I invested in turned out to be poor translations of American games and other activities – that just didn’t make any sense in Spanish!
Oftentimes, the rhymes didn’t work, these books didn’t bother to change expressions for Spanish equivalents, or even care to use proper spelling and grammar! (This is a problem that continues today.)
My basement is still full of this junk!
Money was not the only thing I wasted. This process also took years of my life.
I don’t want any other teacher to have to go through the same experience.
Creating a New Way to Teach Spanish to Preschoolers
I finally realized that I had to start from scratch and develop my approach based on my class experience and the new information that I was discovering.
You see, languages in this country have been traditionally taught in high school and college. We have a choice of teaching methodologies and text manuals to teach Spanish to older students.
But practically nothing for teaching Spanish effectively to young children.
Although some elements of second-language teaching techniques that work for older students could be used to teach young children, most were unsuitable.
I was at a loss. If I was going to make this work long-term, ensure the preschool kids I was teaching loved learning Spanish, and see the rewards, I needed to start over.
That’s what led me to create my own complete system.
Teaching Spanish With Stories, Songs, and Games
As you know, young children have powerful imaginations. They love stories, plays, songs…
And the best way to teach should always match the way people learn. So my teaching style is theatrical, and based on the way young children learn, which is highly active and sensory..
I was fortunate to know plenty of traditional Spanish games and songs for kids from my own childhood in Spain. I realized I could use some of those with preschool students.
I also created many games and songs from scratch that would target the specific needs of preschool children learning Spanish as a second language.
I also adapted traditional stories and created new ones to be used as skits in my storytelling sessions. I wrote many songs and rhymes to be used with the stories as well.
Putting it all Together – The Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide for Teachers
During the years I have published parts and pieces of my system, mainly to help parents and teachers introduce Spanish to their young children by:
- Reading aloud or acting out stories
- Using the fun of technology (see The Red Hen/La gallina roja)
- Conversing in Spanish at home
- And singing and playing finger rhymes
All of them are very popular with parents and teachers.
But The Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide goes a step further in that it provides a frame for teachers.
If you are a teacher and you are reading this, then chances are that you are in the same boat as I was years ago.
Like myself, you may be wondering how to go past the occasional song, story, or activity and integrate everything in a well thought out plan.
Does this describe you?
- You are sick and tired of those endless Sunday-planning-nights and want to free yourself from them once and for all.
- You want to have a response when people asks you why you are doing what you are doing and not just stare back with a blank gaze.
- You want to see your students learning, not just spending time in your class.
- In summary, you want to feel in control of your instruction – not at its mercy.
If any or all of those lofty goals describe you, then the Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide is for you.
The Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide contains practical information about how young children learn languages, tips about what works and doesn’t work with the different ages (from toddlers to early elementary school children), sample activities from my curriculum as well as a 1-hour sample lesson plan.
Watch this video to learn more about the content:
What the Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide Is and Is Not
The Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide IS NOT a curriculum – The SFP guide is packed with advice and information based on my years teaching myself as well as helping others teach, but it is not a set of lesson plans. If that is what you are looking for I can help as well, but I would recommend that you get the Spanish for Preschoolers Guide first so that you see if my approach is for you. I’ll tell you more about my curriculum later on.
The Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide IS a guide for those of you who are starting to teach young children Spanish and need a quick introduction to hit the ground running.
It is especially ideal for those of you who are planning to open an independent Spanish program, but those of you who teach in regular preschool and early elementary settings will find it useful as well.
The content of the guide is appropriate for teaching children 1 to 10 years old. It is not appropriate for parents’ use because the focus is on classroom instruction.
In my years of involvement with language organizations, I have had the good fortune of meeting many linguists, heads of language programs, state world language administrators, consultants, “Teachers of the Year,” language advocates, and hundreds of language educators. For five years, I went to Congress to advocate for language instruction in schools.
I have presented workshops for Head Start, NABE, TESOL, NAEYC and other organizations that look at the other side of the coin (teaching English). This has further broadened and informed my vision about what teaching young children in more than one language entails.
I have many, many things to share with you; many points that I believe are important to understand before grabbing the pen and attempting to write lesson plans on your own!
How You Can Avoid Making the Same Mistakes I Did
I have done the hard work, so you don’t have to.
The Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide gives you a comprehensive view of my unique approach to immersing your students in Spanish. You can use what you learn to inform your own program, no matter where you decide to go from there.
In specific, you will:
- Learn how to effortlessly immerse your students in Spanish. (Teaching lists of colors, numbers and days of the week in Spanish is not teaching a language!)
- With the techniques I’ll show you, your students will be on their way to acquiring a complete language from day one.
- Discover the different types of activities that young kids enjoy doing most, so they’ll love being in class, absorb information quickly, and learn while having fun.
- Find out how to create, use and expand activities for your preschool Spanish lesson plans. This includes…
- Tips to create activities that will help you move quickly toward meaningful, everyday communication. You don’t need to be a language expert to learn these techniques!
- Practical strategies to integrate literacy into your curriculum. Building strong reading – and writing – skills in Spanish is an important success factor on the way to being truly bilingual.
- How to plan your own thematic units, so that you never again have to worry about what you will do tomorrow in class.
Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide also includes these 2 special BONUSES:
- A sample 60-minute lesson plan from one of my thematic units.
- A template you can use to start creating your own units.
Download the #1 Spanish Preschool E-Guide Now!
Because this product is downloadable you can start reading it within five minutes of purchase, from the comfort of your own home, right from your computer or tablet.
I estimate that I have spent over $20,000 in self-education (workshops, books, etc), and teaching materials during the years I’ve been teaching. But the Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide will cost you only $37!
The Only Resource You Really Need to Hit the Ground Running – Guaranteed!
I happily offer you a 30-day guarantee. If you are not entirely satisfied that the Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide gives you the know-how, game-changing information, I’ll send you every penny of your money back straight away!
Click the button below to get your own copy of the hands-on, information-crammed Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide, and receive today the tools you need to create an exciting preschool Spanish curriculum!
Ana Lomba Early Languages LLC
Nicola Dempsey says
Hi Ana, I just wanted to leave a note to convey what great value for money the Spanish Preschool E-Guide is. Thank you for emailing it to be promptly… and what a lovely surprise to receive a sample of The Little Red Hen curriculum as a free bonus. I am from the UK and I came across your site when searching for Spanish lesson plans. I am in the process of developing a Spanish curriculum for my own children (both under 5) as other children in the local community. I agree that it is so important to learn foreign languages asap from birth or before!
Thank you for giving me great insight into effective teaching methods and I look forward to finding out more about your other curriculums once your revamp of them is complete.
Connie Montgomery says
Hi Ana! I contacted you while doing my graduate work at The Ohio State University. I came home to CA and started a nonprofit. We do weekly home visits to families whose second language is English. We have many low income immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Many of the parents did not have an opportunity for an education in their home country. Parents have varied levels of Spanish literacy.
I’m looking for a preschool curriculum for parents to use, with the weekly support of a home visitor. I’ve been using a song and literature base (Alma Flor Ada) and parents love it! But I need more/to expand and adapt it. Also I need developmentally appropriate assessments for the children And appropriate assessments for parents to give evidence of their increased vocabulary and overall language and literacy growth.
Hi Connie! So good hearing from you. Let’s talk next week if you want. It may be better to reach me at email@example.com
Hi, I am Jigna Wadhwana. I stay in India, can you send me the copy of your book to me in India. As I want to teach the toddlers. Please reply me as soon as possible.
I believe that Paypal also operates in India, so you should have no problem purchasing it from my website. Please note that this is not a physical book – it is a digital book in PDF format. Therefore, you can either download it and read it on your computer, tablet, or phone, or you can print it out, if this is easier for you. All the best, Ana
Hola Ana me llamo Silvia soy espanola viviendo en Uk. He estado dando clases de espanol para ninos pero es dificil encontrar materiales que sean Buenos y siempre necesitas nuevas ideas.
Estoy pensando empezar mi negocio dando clases de espanol. A que te refieres cuando hablas de un Independent Spanish Program, es algo que se hace en USA? Podrias darme algun consejo de como empezar ?
Me refiero a un programa que tú abres por tu cuenta, no importa dónde enseñes. Por ejemplo, yo empecé alquilando espacio en colegios e iglesias. También enseñaba grupos en varias casas y me contrataban en colegios donde no tenían programa de idiomas. Puedes empezar enseñando tú y poco a poco ir contratando a gente. A eso me refiero.
La guía te puede ayudar a pensar en ideas como esa (dónde enseñar). Contiene varios ejemplos de actividades, pero la escribí sobre todo para gente que como tú quiere empezar a diseñar y estructurar su propio programa.
Hola.. much gusto… mi nombre es Cameron and i have a 3 year old daughter i have been speaking to her in Spanish, yet i am still learning myself.. yo practica todo los dias .. i only use short frases or words and dont force it. Cosas como: para lista a la Escula? Hora de domir, tienes hambre?and so on.. i have several teachers on skype and now im ready to converse. However mi Esposa says no she will not learn it if i am not fluent. And i have read good news that if she speaks one language.( english ) i will teach theother ( i live in Canada and i am now learning french ) so we butt heads and i have to speak Spanish when Espoza is not around this was not my intension as if i teach what ive learned, i will learn even more. What can i do? Thx saludos
Hola Cameron! Thank you for the message! There is no damage is learning a new language together. In fact, parents and children teams tend to have a better record at language learning than children learning alone. This is because the extra practice makes a big difference – also because children look up to their parents and they love doing things with them. That being said, it is important to mix in native speaking voices, via real people (teachers, tutors, friends) or through apps, CDs, etc. Here are a few materials for her age you may like: Hop, Skip, and Sing Spanish, Play and Learn Spanish, Caperucita Roja , Ricitos de Oro.
Good luck with your daughter-dad project!
Thxs. My familia dice Is she too young to learn if im not fluent She will be confused ? I am only doing what my heart says “speak now.. she will speak later” I m discouraged asmy other warns meto speak no more . Lo siento
Hi Ana, I am from Illinois and am working at a Head start program through the educare learning network as a teacher assistant. We are a dual language school from birth to 5 years of age. I am the spanish role model in a preschool classroom We are wanting to continue to extend our spanish resources for teachers and provide the best quality education for our students in spanish. I am very interested in the resources you provide. Is there any way you could provide me with more information. Thank you.
Sure! I will contact you directly and that way you can explain what you are looking for. Thanks.
Delia Albs says
Hello Ana I was so excited to come across your information today. I have 3 years experience in a dual language classroom as the teacher so I have my bachelors in education. We moved to California and I was stunned to find limited places that offer a Spanish for children. I currently teach for a school district but it is my dream to teach Spanish to children in the evenings. Can you please tell me more about your curriculum you offer and any other resources. Thank you
Hello Ana como estas? I’m actually a bilingu specialist go to different schools to teach im starting soon so what can you recommend
Maria Hoppe says
Hello Ana. I have a 4 year old daughter that I’m trying to teach Spanish to. I am fluent in the language but it’s hard as we live in a world of English speakers. Any advise or literature that I should check out. I also have a 7 month old son and want to start him early as well!
It’s not very easy to buy good Spanish books for young children here. One suggestion is to explore Amazon in Spain (https://www.amazon.es/), and Mexico (https://www.amazon.com.mx/). They deliver in the US as well. I have bought books from Amazon in other countries and it works very well. It takes longer, but it’s worth it!
Alvaro D says
¿Alguna posibilidad de recibir este material de modo online?
Tengo un grupo de niños de 6 años y trabajo con ellos usando canciones, dibujos y cuentos peor me gustaría tener alguna idea general y refrescar mis pensamientos. Gracias
La guía viene en formato PDF y te la puedes bajar inmediatamente. Además, si no te sirve el contenido (que espero que sí) puedes pedir una devolución, así que no pierdes nada probándola.
Hello, I noticed on the information abouve you mentioned this program was more for teachers/ or to be used in a class setting. Do you happen to have a guide for parents? I have a 3 year old, that I would like to teach him to read and write Spanish before he learns English. But I was raised in a home where there wasn’t much foundation on how to read and write Spanish the correct way. And I’ve grown up to have a lot of issues with spelling in both languages. I feel it’s because I had to “wing” it with both languages. Anyway, I don’t want that to happen to my son. Also is it better for me to teach him English first or Spanish?
I am from Chicago and speak Spanish in my home to my 3 year old daughter, I didn’t have any formal language instruction just what I learned from my parents.
But I don’t know how to help my daughter become fluent. I feel like I need to have some kind of program/curriculm that I can use at home. I am lost and don’t know where to start. She is in a preschool but of course it’s all in English.
Ivette Meade says
I found and read your story from Google searching Spanish for preschoolers. I’m not a teacher per se but my background is Hispanic. I’ve worked with toddlers 1-4 in a daycare setting and I’m interested in pursuing a skill that I have Spanish to teach preschoolers. Besides your Spanish for Preschoolers E-guide, what approach, steps or if any schooling do you recommend I should take to pursue a different direction in life as a 48 year old unemployed in order to generate income?
Hola Ana! I am from Mexico and living in california since 2008. I’ve been a preschool teacher for about 9 years and I truly love it. I completely understand what you said about how young children learn, understand, and retain information, I also experienced that in my beginnings as a teacher.
Now I have a crazy idea and dream of keep teaching young children and sharing my language! I’m planning on having my own extracurricular Spanish class. This consists in teaching in different preschools for a certain amount of time.This is a very vague and immature plan. However, I’m very excited to start calling schools to see how interested they would be about having me come teach Spanish. Due to this idea I started researching about teaching spanish and that’s how I found you! I really honor your work and appreciate how you’ve been a guide, inspiration, and encouragement for so many teacher around the world.
Do you have any advice for me? What do you think about my idea? Where should I begin? Is this even a good idea?
I appreciate your help and really look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you for your time!
Blanca Villareal says
I want to start teaching Spanish Classes to young kids on my own, is this a curriculum? What do you mean by a gide?
It is not curriculum. It is a book with ideas and suggestions that can help you create your own curriculum. That being said, I also offer curriculum. You can read more about it at http://www.analomba.com