Frequently Asked Questions: Vamos Program

What is a typical Futura class like?

Our goal is to create lifelong language learners, which means we want our students to be engaged in the language and enjoying it. It is our hope that students in our classes go on to study Spanish in middle school, high school, and college. Therefore, we don’t spend a lot of time sitting in desks, as Futura classes are hands-on and dynamic. We use songs, games, and cultural activities that are age appropriate so the students are sure to fall in love with the language.

How can learning vocabulary related to a very specific theme help my child start speaking Spanish?

Studies show that children learn best when the topic at hand relates to their current interests or correlates to their everyday lives. Our Vamos classes ensure that the vocabulary in our classes is “Real World Spanish” which the children can start applying immediately. We also teach valuable key connector phrases, allowing students to immediately start creating sentences. For example: The students may learn Quiero (I want) and can then say several sentences like Quiero un refresco. (I want a soda). Quiero un boleto. (I want a ticket), etc. Traditional Spanish like colors and numbers are taught throughout the various classes, helping build a strong language base for future Spanish classes.

How can students with previous Spanish be in a class with students with no Spanish experience?

Our Vamos classes were written to accommodate students from all levels of Spanish. Because the classes are related to a particular theme, there will be new vocabulary and Spanish phrases for all students-even those with extensive Spanish experience. If there are some review concepts, that is not a bad thing. It takes a lot of review and practice to become an expert in anything!

My child has been in Spanish for a whole semester and is not speaking Spanish. Is there a problem?

Absolutely not! Learning a language is truly a lifetime dedication and will take time. At Futura, we apply a language methodology that best mimics first language acquisition.  Therefore, even if your child is not verbalizing yet, he/she is in a very active part of language development, often called the “silent period” where children process the language and store it to eventually speak it. (For example: When the teacher says, “Formen un circulo” the children in the class make a circle, even though they may not be able to give the command themselves.) We encourage you to use the weekly newsletters to practice five minutes per day to see verbal results most quickly. Of course, the best way to ensure your child learns Spanish is to stick with it!

Why is my 4th grader in a class that also has kindergarteners?

Futura courses are very innovative, as they can accommodate mixed ages quite well. Our teachers’ guide gives the instructors explicit instructions for how to cater particular lessons and activities based on the ages in class. In games, for example, students of the same age and language ability compete against each other, while during collective activities like songs students participate together, building camaraderie among the grades. When introducing vocabulary, we present the written word along with a tangible, corresponding object so we are always accommodating the learning needs of both readers and non-readers.

What can I do to reinforce learning at home?

Each class your child will review vocabulary from previous classes in addition to learning new Spanish vocabulary. Your child’s teacher will send home a class-specific newsletter each week, which highlights the new vocabulary and activities included in class. Your child will have the best results and retention if you can spend five minutes practicing each night. Futura also has musical CDS and Spanish sticker book dictionaries, which make for wonderful opportunities for additional language exposure.

Will my child bring home worksheets and projects?

As our classes focus primarily on social and conversational Spanish, we employ a hands-on dynamic method of teaching that is quite different from a typical academic Spanish atmosphere. Therefore, students are participating in age-appropriate language learning using songs, games, and conversational practice during class that doesn’t incorporate worksheets. We spend time each class talking about related cultural topics, but limit art and craft projects to best use classroom time for language instruction. If you are interested in additional written work at home please do call our offices.

Can I visit a class?

Of course! We have an open door policy and would love for you to sit in the back of any class to witness firsthand the unique approach we have to language instruction.

Questions?

Call your local Futura branch