Like Isabella and Ferdinand, EFF is a nonprofit organization that fuses both language and culture.
“Language is a very important part of children’s lives,” Perez said. “Our goal is to educate as many people as possible and not be money driven.”
Four classes are available, which are broken down by age and level of fluency. The younger children learn through playing French games, signing French songs and engaging in hands-on activities. The older students follow a French education methodology, the Ratus method, which includes grammar and culture.
Rebecca Dinda, principal of the Downtown Miami Charter School, thinks the partnership is great for her students as well as EFF.
“We are a school that is working diligently to improve the student achievement of all of our students,” Dinda said. “We love our partnership with EFF because it truly provides our students with pride that other kids share their school and gives them exposure to kids that they may typically not come in contact with.”
Trying to master Mandarin
From Latin America to France, a final stop is made in China. Talk Kids International offers Mandarin classes for children once a week at its Aventura location.
Monica Caponi, 54, is the director of Talk Kids International, a company founded in 1999 to teach children how to learn a language through a full immersion curriculum.
The Mandarin teacher, Xiuna Wang, is from China and certified to teach in Florida. She incorporates pictures, vocabulary, music and activities to engage the children, who range from 5 to 7. The class is offered in three sessions, which begin in September and finish in late November.
Fluency of the language is not expected, which is why the class is targeted at young children who are beginners in the language.
“The children can learn about other cultures, while making friends from different cultures,” Caponi said.
Maria Vargas, 48, the program coordinator for Talk Kids International, enrolled her 6-year-old son in the Chinese class and is pleased with the results. Vargas says he is not fluent yet, but he understands words and is learning how to draw symbols.
“At a young age, kids are like sponges so it’s easier for them to learn the language,” Vargas said. “Chinese is the business language of the future.”