Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids sent us a full Spanish Starter Set 1 to review. Our set included a DVD, stickers, the Go Squish Cardgame, and three levels of student books and teacher guides. The Volume 1 DVD includes 3 video episodes. One video is for each of the included levels.
This is a conversational Spanish course for a range of ages. It is recommended for students ages 5-14. The videos exclusively use Spanish for speaking and for any labels or words that are included. The goal is for the students to watch the movies over and over until they have learned all the Spanish words in each episode. The workbooks and games support the DVD.
The whole program is based on flights. The first flight goes to Lima, Peru. The second one is going to Bogota, Columbia, and the third one is headed for San Jose, Costa Rica. The flight aspect is a short segment at the very beginning of each video. The student workbooks are "In-Flight Magazines". The lessons within those workbooks cover a little information about each of the destinations. For instance, the first level suggests the student draw the flag of Peru.
|Apple's version of Peru's flag|
The first video is named "Basketballs Aren't for Breakfast", and it portrays a morning in the home of 3 brothers. Their mom is making breakfast, and they are interacting. The dialogue is all in Spanish and every once in a while a little short sidetrack is given to explain the meaning of a word. Those are completely in Spanish as well. The Spanish words are also displayed during the video on T-shirts, signs, and in random places. The set also included Spanish word stickers to use around the house.
Apple has been the one trying out this program. She was able to complete the first level during our trial period. She worked on it 2-3 days per week. The lessons and video are short so it took her less than 20 minutes most days. While Apple has been watching the video over and over, Speedy has picked up many of the words even when he wasn't in the same room with her. I've heard both of them subbing Spanish words for "breakfast", "apple", and "I like".
Flight 1 includes 11 suggested "lessons". This program is very adaptable, but offers lesson plans including how much of the video to watch, suggested games to play, and workbook pages to complete. Lessons 2 and 3 are a little longer. Those videos are titled "The Little Magic House" and "The Little Magic House Part 2". Part 1 includes 18 lessons, and Part 2 includes 22 lessons. Each video ends with a "Rapid Review" section for students to practice all the words they are learning.
I think this is a great immersion technique for teaching Spanish. It is certainly geared towards younger students, but I enjoyed watching the videos as a review of the Spanish I learned in high school. From completion certificates to the brightly colored workbooks full of fun word searches and crosswords, the lessons are engaging. I think it is a fun concept to have the videos based on going through a regular day. The beginning flight segments are a great way to incorporate some geography in the lessons. I like that she can independently complete most of the lessons. She does need another person or two for the card games though! If I had one suggestion, it would be to move the answer keys from the back of the student workbooks into the teacher guides. Apple is looking forward to completing Levels 2 and 3, and there are more DVD Volumes with guides we can purchase in the future to continue the study.