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The Gift of Travel – Machu Picchu 2017!

user by sombrerotime
calendarThursday, 10 December

Holiday Greetings to the Tribe!

December is one of my favorite times of the year. A time to reflect on all the goodness and even the challenges in our lives. Christmas is a time of family, friends and giving. One of my favorite gifts is travel. It’s not a box under the tree, but it is a gift that keeps on giving as you experience new places, people and culture. Plus you have the memories to last a lifetime!

In the video update below hear how my personal and family travel experiences have been such an incredible gift. A gift we are preparing to unwrap. For us and for you. Isn’t travel on most people’s bucket list? It is on ours!

This Christmas Dave and I are fulfilling a bucket list item of taking our family to Costa Rica to immerse ourselves in the adventure. Stay tuned for how it goes. . . but we want to hear from you. What’s on your bucket list? Are you considering the gift of travel for your family? If so, where and when? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Now, if you don’t have plans, we have a great opportunity coming up Spring Break 2017. Peru and Machu Picchu with EF Tours! Click the image below to view the itinerary and dates. We would love you to join us!

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.06.00 PM

Want to see what the Sombrero Time EF Tour 2015 trip to Costa Rica looked like? Click HERE

Merry Christmas y Feliz Navidad,

Dave & Ruth


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An Update to The Tribe from Ruth

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calendarWednesday, 18 November

Dear friends,

In light of current global events I am reminded of things that are near and dear to my heart.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are experiencing deep loss. Even in a world full of tragedy, we can find much goodness which is where my gratitude resides. Family, friends, community – our “Tribe”. 

With the holiday season around the corner I wanted to take a moment to express how thankful I am for you – The Sombrero Time Tribe: Families who value enhancing their students’ education with the life impacting skill of a second language.



From the bottom of my heart Thank You for being the blessing you are to me, Dave and our family.

As part of The Tribe you know how personally I take your child’s learning experience. Sombrero Time is a learning and growing company dedicated to quality education. Sometimes that means shaking things up, getting messy and moving forward.

The video above shares a few insights and developments we are only sharing with you – Our Tribe.


¡Mil Gracias!



PS. Post a comment below tell me what’s been on your mind. I want to hear from you!


Sydney will look forward to starting back up in Jan on Tuesdays at 4:15 pm with Carolina. I enjoyed sitting in and watching how wonderful the immersion program is in action. Loved Carolina’s work with Sydney.


    Hi Janis,
    Thanks for your comments! Immersion coupled with continually trained teachers is part of our “secrete salsa”… See you in January.


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Short and Sweet

user by sombrerotime
calendarSaturday, 15 February

One of the most rewarding aspects we experience at Sombrero Time is hearing about teacher success stories.  We recently helped Creekside Charter School in Tahoe, CA revamp their K-8 Spanish program using “Spanish Classroom in a Box” and our Condensed 4 hour Training. Below is a short but very sweet quote from Creekside’s World Languages Director, Monica Calderi:

“The beauty of your program is the ability it gives us to add our own creative spin and create fun hands-on activities”.

Love it!

-Ruth Finsthwait


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Free HomeSchool Spanish Workshop

user by sombrerotime
calendarWednesday, 17 April

As an approved vendor for Horizon, Visions and South Sutter charter schools, Sombrero Time specializes in Immersive Language instruction for K-8 grade students. Our education center in Granite Bay is currently forming groups for HomeSchool Spanish this fall starting in September.

What you can expect by attending a Workshop:

  • Your student will experience a one hour Spanish immersion class for Free!
  • Meet HomeSchool parents and students currently in the program
  • Review our curriculum and receive an outline you can share with your ES/CT
  • Meet our highly-trained native Spanish speaking instructors
  • Q&A session with school director
  • Receive an exclusive opportunity to form a new Spanish group

In order to attend you must reserve tickets via Eventbrite(see links below), print them and bring them to the workshop. It is only necessary to reserve tickets for the number of students attending. Parents do not need to reserve a ticket. Please select the appropriate grade level ticket for your student. The workshops are divided by grade level, K-4 and 5-8. HomeSchoolers not associated with a Charter are welcome to attend as well!

Workshop #1
April 23, 2013

Click HERE to RSVP and print your tickets

Workshop #2
May 14, 2013

Click HERE to RSVP and print your tickets

Want more information about our Spanish Immersion classes for HomeSchool students and families?  Click HERE!

¡Hasta pronto!


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Sombrero Time is Hiring!

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calendarWednesday, 09 January

Sombrero Time is seeking qualified candidates for part time Spanish language instruction positions. We have immediate openings at our education facility in Granite Bay and Sacramento region school sites for substitute teachers and tutoring positions. Substitute positions typically grow into part or full time employment. All positions offer the opportunity to work with great schools teaching K-8 grade students Spanish using our immersive curriculum, methodology and support material. We offer an exciting and fun work environment and competitive wages and extensive training. If you meet the minimum applicant requirements listed below please submit your resume and cover letter.

All candidates must meet these minimum requirements: 

  • Native Spanish Speaker
  • Four Year College degree
  • Experience teaching or working with children
  • Must possess a love for working with children
  • Possess a current CA drivers license with clean driving record and meet minimum liability insurance required by law
  • Enthusiastic, “can do” positive attitude
  • Must be a team player and self starter

Additional Skills/Experience Desired:

  • Teaching Credential
  • Volunteer Work
  • Curriculum Development/Writing

Application process. Follow these instructions Please!

Step 1Submit resume with cover letter to the address below for review. We will confirm receipt of your email
Step 2 If you meet the minimum requirements, as stated above, we will contact you via phone for an initial conversation
Step 3-Phone interview with hiring manager
Step 4-Face to face interview
Step 5-Teaching Observation

To learn more about us please visit our website:

We look forward to speaking with you!

Rina Rojas

Just following up with your job openning back in January. I submitted an application/resume and would like to know if you are still processing applications. Thank you,


    Hi Rina,
    We had a ton of great candidates apply for positions and ended up hiring three wonderful teachers. The competition was fierce! Regardless to say, we are growing and will likely need to hire again in the near future. I checked my records and did not see your resume. Please forward to info@sombrerotime.com so I can keep it on file for future reference.

    David Finsthwait


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user by sombrerotime
calendarMonday, 24 October


— Community Event Enhances Spanish Learning with Cultural Appreciation –
— Is Your Elementary-School Student Already Behind in Today’s Global Marketplace? —

GRANITE BAY, CA — October 24, 2011 – Elementary-school students who study Spanish with Sombrero Time, a leading provider of Spanish instruction and curriculum, will be taking their Spanish out of the classroom and into the real-world at a dinner tonight at Más, a Mexican restaurant in Roseville, where approximately 100 children, whose first language is English, will converse with Sombrero Time instructors and restaurant staff in Spanish.
The event, from 5:30-6:45 p.m., is designed to give students an authentic, fun experience where they can see value in their Spanish and enhance their learning through the culture of food and dance. The young students will order for themselves and their families in Spanish and converse with the native Spanish speakers on the Más staff about a variety of topics, such as Jamie Garcia, the Mexican native who was the starter for the St. Louise Cardinals in Game Two of this year’s World Series. To extend the cultural learning, Zulema Balderas, a folkloric dance instructor, will be teaching the students and their families traditional Mexican dance steps.

“Foreign language is becoming increasingly critical to a successful education. It’s moving from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’,” said Ruth Finsthwait, cofounder and president of Sombrero Time, which has 1,100 students in the area. “Studies have shown the earlier a child begins to learn a second language, the greater the chance for proficiency, and the brains of elementary age children are especially well-suited for second language acquisition.”
In addition to the fact that Sombrero Time starts students while they are young and open to a new language, its approach differs from the norm because it stresses immersion and frequency. The children learn Spanish in Spanish, just as they learned English in English. Sombrero Time has students use Spanish in authentic ways, as they will at Más, rather than just having students memorize vocabulary and learn to conjugate verbs.
Studies have shown that to achieve fluency and literacy, students need 30-50 minutes of instruction 3-5 times per week. Sombrero Time was built on this conviction.

“Sombrero Time has become integral to our school,” said Erika Sloane, principal of Loomis Basin Charter School. “Our students and parents value it tremendously. The instructors and curriculum go way beyond teaching simply content; they teach human interaction. Providing these opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in a real setting is a great extension of the classroom and an enriching experience.”
Studies show that learning a foreign language is greatly enhanced by worthwhile activities that give them a chance to utilize the language and cultural appreciation.

“We have two students in the Sombrero Time program,” said Lisa Bader of Granite Bay. “It’s really cool to see all the kids speaking Spanish in a real-world setting.  The magic of Sombrero Time is that the children not only learn Spanish—they learn how to apply their language skills in a real-world setting. The evening at Más provides a great opportunity for the kids to test-drive what they’ve learned in a supportive, stress-free environment and it’s fun for the entire family.”


Today Sombrero Time (sombrerotime.com) delivers Spanish immersion instruction and curriculum to more than 1,100 elementary school students in Placer and Sacramento Counties. Cofounder Ruth Finsthwait, an expert in language acquisition in children, developed the Sombrero Time curriculum based on her knowledge of how elementary age students learn a foreign language. The company uses only native speakers and 100% of the instruction and student interaction is in Spanish. Classes are held at local elementary schools and at the company’s Learning Center in Granite Bay, where the company is headquartered.

Kim Carroll at 916-960-9202 or kimcarroll2000@yahoo.com


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The Impacts of Early Language Exposure

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calendarThursday, 13 October

Ruth and I are routinely asked by parents with toddlers, Pre-K & Kinder students, who are concerned about the “negative” impacts of their children being exposed to multiple languages too early.  While these concerns are valid current research actually supports very early exposure to multiple languages and shows positive impact on neurological development.  Babies actually seem to have an amazing capacity to adapt and recognize pattern and show accelerated cognitive skills very early on.

Today I read an article from the Seattle Times that underscores this point.

What I found even more intriguing is that research is supporting the idea that language learning happens in a social setting, ie, a class room or between groups of people.  Put babies in front of TV  or even recorded langauge and they learn nothing.  Dr. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, a leading researcher on the formation of language in babies was referenced in the Seattle Times article:

“Previous research by her group showed that exposing English-language infants in Seattle to someone speaking to them in Mandarin helped those babies preserve the ability to discriminate Chinese language sounds, but when the same “dose” of Mandarin was delivered by a television program or an audiotape, the babies learned nothing.

“This special mapping that babies seem to do with language happens in a social setting,” Kuhl said. “They need to be face to face, interacting with other people. The brain is turned on in a unique way.”

If you are a parent and have concerns about multiple language exposure with your child please consider what current research is showing.  You may be providing them a great opportunity to advance their cognitive and language development skills during a very short window of time.

To read the full Seattle Times article click HERE.


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Learning Spanish – Native Style

user by sombrerotime
calendarThursday, 11 August

During this summer we ventured with our 3 kids south of the boarder for a little immersive Spanish experience “R&D”.  Since our learning philosophy requires a native speaking environment why not get into the culture in Baja California and seek out some great, family friendly activities that would provide rich language opportunities.  Well, we weren’t dissapointed!  We spent a week in San Jose Del Cabo enjoying a very authentic experience attending a local school, playing soccer and surfing.  Check out the information below and let us know if you are interested in learning more.  We plan to go back next year and would love to take some families with us!

SUMMER SCHOOL EN ESPAÑOL – Believe it or not all three of our kids went back to school for a week!  The Mission Colegio is a wonderful Dual Immersion private school in San Jose Del Cabo.  All students take classes split half the day in Spanish and the other half in English.  During our visit we had the opportunity to meet students & teachers and were pleasantly surprised to find that many Americans and Canadians, in addition to Mexican nationals, are attending the school.  Our kids made new friends and practiced their Spanish A TON!  Check out the Mission Colegio web site and our photos on Facebook.

– After school each day we took our kids to a great local soccer camp run by an organization called Pachuca Tuzos los CabosThe camp director is an ex Mexican Professional Futbol player turned coach.  Jesus Romero coaches and grooms players for professional Mexican teams.  He also happens to be the PE teacher at Mission Colegio.  The camps are run at “La Huerta” a local sports club in San Jose.    If you want your kids to learn Spanish, the native soccer Futbol field is one of the best ways to immerse them.  Naturally, kids want to play and interact with their peers.  Combine English speakers with Spanish speakers on a soccer field and you have a powerful and fun formula to acquire language.


SURF – We ended our week with some more adventure learning to surf.  The Cabo Surf Hotel is a well kept secret on the beach as you come into San Jose Del Cabo.  The area along the shore is called Costa Azul which is known for some of the best surf breaks in Baja.  The hotel has comfortable amenities, quiet rooms, a great restaurant called the 7 Seas Grille and surf lessons provided by our new friend Miguel Rojas at the onsite, beach front, surf shop. The Cabo Surf Shop features one of the only professionally certified “Mike Doyle” surf schools in Baja.  We had a great time learning from the friendly, knowledgeable staff and everyone caught waves!  If you are ready for a great warm water surfing adventure Miguel and his staff are prepared to coach you in Spanish or English!

Link to photos of Cabo Surf

Below is a video we recorded with Miguel.  Check it out and let us know if you want to go with us next summer:


Next summer I am taking my children to cabo for 8 weeks. I want to put them in a summer camp where they can learn Spanish. Can you tell me more about mission colegio.


    Hi Jenn,
    Depending on when you go next summer you might be able to enroll your students as guests at Mission Colegio. Our kids spent 5 days at the school, half the day in English and half the day in Spanish. Start by connecting with Betty Luna or Lisa King at the school to inquire about enrolling your students during your stay.


    Another great suggestion is to enroll them in the local soccer camp. If your kids play soccer or not, it is a great way to learn Spanish. Kids naturally want to participate with their peers. In Mexico every kid plays soccer so there will be little to no English on the field of play. I have had local American families tell me that the soccer field was one of the best tools for teaching their English speaking kids Spanish. If you want to investigate summer soccer camps look up Jesus Romero at Filial Pachuca Los Cabos. Jesus is on Facebook and very responsive to inquirey. He runs the soccer camps locally to Cabo San Jose with his Father Roberto. Both are PE instructors at El Mission Colegio as well.

    These links will get you started.


    Keep us posted!

    David Finsthwait


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Learning Spanish by Going Abroad

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calendarMonday, 20 June

¡Hola amigos!

One of the greatest benefits to learning a second language is what it can do for your travel experience.  Many of us have traveled to Mexico, stayed in a resort and enjoyed some good food, beautiful beaches and warm water.  But, how many of us have really experienced the local culture up close and personal?  How cool would it be to play soccer in Mexico, with people who live and breath the sport, all while practicing the language?  How fun would it be to take surf lessons at a surf camp and get some hands on language experience at the same time?  You see, when we engage anyone in their language, on their home turf not only does it honor them and create relationship, it also allows us to gain perspective and appreciation for how other people live.  All this comes together to enhance your travel experience.

So, starting tomorrow Ruth & I are taking the family south of the boarder to plug into the culture and do exactly what I have described.  We will be visiting Cabo San Lucas and Cabo San Jose over the two next weeks.  During our time we will be playing fútbol at a soccer camp with Mexican nationals and taking surf lessons at a local beach.  As part of our experience we will be seeking authentic, fun & family friendly activities that YOU can do in the near future.  Sound exciting?  Stay tuned by visiting our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

So, who is in for next year?


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New Kinder Class Helps Kids Learn Spanish

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calendarFriday, 17 June

For the past two year we have had the privilege of working with Sierra Elementary School to develop some creative language solutions.  Sierra Elementary is  progressive K-6 school in Rocklin, CA with International Baccalaureate World school focus.  The school provides Spanish instruction to all students as part of the core curriculum two days/week.  In addition, private after school Spanish classes are offered four days/week.  Both programs use Sombrero Time curriculum, methods and instructors.

Starting this fall, we are excited to announce a new class at Sierra Elementary.  Sombrero Time has been asked to offer Spanish for Kinder students!  Similar to our after school program, Kinder Spanish will run shortly after the normal Kindergarten class from 11:30-12:15pm,  4 days/week, Tuesday-Friday.  Each session is 45 minutes and will be conducted by one of our trained native speaking instructors and is filled with traditional Spanish dance, Song and Music activities.  The class is intended to introduce new Spanish speakers to the language and prepare them for entry into the Spanish program starting in 1st grade at Sierra Elementary.  Kinder Spanish will offer a great transition for students enrolled in Kids Junction as well.

Full details are available on our Registration page.


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