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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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