Over the course of three weeks, 23 students from Kennedy Secondary School have spent one or more class periods with Claire Ann Shover Nursery School students teaching them the Spanish language.

Sally Despard’s Spanish II class had an opportunity to volunteer at the nursery school, teaching the younger students colors, animals and making books with narratives in espanol to help reinforce the ideas and the language.

“It’s been fun watching the students pick up on the foreign language. After the high school students leave and the kids are playing or having a snack, they’ll be saying the words or singing the songs they learned that day,” Nikki Drake, Claire Ann Shover Nursery School director, said. “It’s amazing how fast and how well they’ve picked up on the different languages.”

In January, Deb Sutor’s French class spent four Fridays at Claire Ann Shover Nursery School, making Spanish the second new language brought to the nursery school in 2018. Both Sutor and Despard noted that this has been a positive learning experience for both age groups.

“It really benefits all of them. A great way to learn something is to teach it,” Despard said.

Each high schooler paired up with a nursery school student, getting that one-on-one teaching time between group activities. It’s these interactions and educational moments that are one of Despard’s favorite parts of this new program to see unfold.

“Seeing interactions between students and having all of them participate so actively has been great. We would like to plan more of these days,” Despard said.

Watching as her students, particularly more shy or quiet individuals, have opened up to the older students in the classroom has been something Drake has enjoyed seeing.

“The high schoolers have done a great job getting down to their level while they are teaching my students new words. They have played some games and have done some coloring with my students using their Spanish words, so it’s fun watching my students learning hands on with their new high school friends,” Drake said.

Seeing this growth in such short periods of time in learning a foreign language is something that has surprised Drake, and been exciting to see.

“I would like to continue introducing different languages to my students in the future. It’s been a great experience so far,” Drake said.

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