Lingua Natal (formerly known as KidSchool), has been serving San Diego County since 1993. The founder and its sole intellectual property owner, Lena Sisson, has over thirty-three years of experience in education and curriculum development.[box] Lena Sisson has learned that for children, language learning is not the result of vocabulary learning, grammar study and worksheets, but rather the result of a dynamic blend of continual language stimulation, joyous interaction with native people, culture, new sounds and loving encouragement. Lena Sisson has been passionately committed to bringing the highest standards of foreign language learning to children’s lives through developmentally appropriate curricula since 1993.[/box]
Lena Sisson has created the Origin™ curriculum framework that systematically takes the children ages 1 to 12 through the same 'natural process' that children experience in learning their mother language. Origin’s carefully sequenced learning experience is based on a child's natural curiosity. The learning experience is set in an immensely stimulating, stress-free and positive learning environment. The child's learning experience, and not just what he or she learns, is a top priority.[box] Lena Sisson has operated a foreign language Center for children in San Diego since 1993, changing the way kids have been learning foreign languages. Lingua Natal Center offers an eight level program in Spanish, French and Mandarin to children ages 5-12 and takes them from a beginner’s level to proficiency in all the areas of language, oral, reading and writing. Currently Lingua Natal Center is in Encinitas.[/box]
Lingua Natal Company also owns a series of model programs operating at both Charter, public and private schools (Elementary and Junior High) and preschools based on its proprietary curriculum framework Origin™. Lingua Natal, Origin Consulting, offers Teacher Training programs as well as curriculum for preschools and elementary schools. Currently the model programs are running at River Kids preschool, The Museum School, Keystone Academy and Rancho Santa Fe Junior High Mandarin program.[box]Lingua Natal is currently operating a full-immersion state licensed preschool, Jardin International Preschool, with both French and Spanish Tracks for children ages 2 to 5. Jardin International Preschool also offers Mandarin as part of its language programs for children.[/box]
Lingua Natal also offers enrichment language programs at the site of many schools in the County called "@School programs". Lingua Natal programs have been operating at the site of Encinitas Union School District schools since 1999, Solana Beach Union School District schools since 1998, Kid s College (Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos schools) since 2013. San Diego Cooperative Charter School in Linda Vista since 2007. Lingua Natal will start offering language programs at the site of Torrey Pines Elementary as of January 2012.
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I think it goes without saying that learning a second (or third, etc!) language at an early age has benefits that go far beyond simply being able to speak and interact with other peoples and cultures on a different level. So for us, it wasn't a matter of 'whether' we would have our son attend a school to learn another language(s), but more about picking the right one.
We did a lot of research, and really dove into the curriculum and teaching styles of the various schools in San Diego. I truly believe we found the very best in Lingua Natal. And after three years of our son attending Lingua Natal, we continue to be thrilled by his development and love of his classes. Lingua Natal has a very unique and natural way of helping the children become fluent in a language (vs. having them memorize bunch of flashcards or vocab words). A lot of schools are out to show "how much the child has learned" using these methods, but rote memorization shortchanges the actual learning and fluency of a language.
Lastly, we're glad to have taken advantage of the "golden window" of language acquisition (ages 1-8). Many schools don't start introducing another language, in a meaningful way, until the tail end of that period, and sometimes even later. This is a shame, because at an early age, kids can acquire multiple languages with such ease. Our son, at age 4, has far surpassed our knowledge/fluency of Spanish and has prompted us to look for adult classes. No doubt the learning will be much harder for us.
-Kerri H. (parent)
We are overjoyed! My daughter loves Spanish Class. The teachers are amazing!!! She's so happy going there and we just love hearing her break out in to Spanish at home. She sings songs in Spanish and it is wonderful. We really feel we've made the best decision to give her this gift that will last her a lifetime.
-Tori Ann (parent)
Lena and Lingua Natal,
Thank you so much for all the years of french instruction for my three children. They have thrived in all areas of their education secondary to this. They were confident and skilled once they started language classes in their Middle School. Their french teachers have been so impressed with their language skills learned from your program. The oldest have tested proficient in French for Harvard and Georgetown Universities. They are on to learning Arabic and Italian. They know how to learn languages and accept the challenges. Each has placed themselves in total immersion situations to keep learning.
-Maureen M. (parent)
I see how much my daughter has progressed. She speaks now after Spanish class in Spanish all afternoon with her sister. For her birthday she sang Happy Birthday in Chinese . Everybody was surprised, even her Chinese friend!
-Sarah R. (parent)
I can’t remember exactly when I started or for how long I worked with Lena at Kidschool (now Lingua Natal) all I know is that it was a HUGE part of my childhood and has helped me immensely to get where I am today. I started at Kidschool at a very young age and have fond memories of the people I met in my classes, the activities we would do and the songs that we sang to help us learn (I still have most of them memorized even today).
I didn't realize what a precious gift I was given until later when my knowledge of Spanish and French and my interest in foreign language and diversity really began to set me aside from my peers. It took me a while to realize how lucky I was to grasp languages so easily and I loved my language electives in school. I felt encouraged to explore other languages and confident when it came to using them in work and social situations.
Lena encouraged students to begin at a young age and to learn multiple languages at once. The benefit this gave me was the ability to jump from one language to another and to use correct pronunciation and accents.
-Dayna W. (former student)
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