It is said that limiting language limits your world. So with that in mind, why not give your little learner the gift of being a polyglot. Seattle is chock full of classes that can teach kids to be multilingual, while also appreciating other cultures. If you’re ready to help your little chatterbox embrace his or her gift of gab, read on for a list of Seattle’s coolest foreign language classes and schools.
Raising globally minded children, while learning about the world through language, is the mission at Sponge. Founded by Jackie Friedman-Mighdoll, Sponge was the first language program of its kind on the west coast. Today, Sponge’s offerings have expanded significantly with classes taught throughout the Seattle area for kids ages newborn to fifth grade. And these are not your typical Spanish or French classes. Sponge offers classes in German, Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese), Japanese and even Hindi. The 55-minute award-winning classes, which are taught by a diverse group of teachers who come from all over the world including Chile, Peru, China, Colombia, France, Japan, India, Germany, Puerto Rico and Taiwan, focus on practical everyday language with fun units every five weeks. During class, kids play games, participate in crafts, sing and move—all in another language!
Good to Know: With several locations around Seattle area, you are sure to find a class to fit your family’s needs, whether it’s for your toddler, your preschooler or your elementary student. Sign up for a free trial class online and give Sponge a try!
Leschi/Mt. Baker Ridge
3107 S. Day St.
Seattle, Wa 98144
10600 N.E. 68th St., Suite A
Kirkland, Wa 98033
Play Happy Cafe
4114 198th St. S.W., Suite 3
Lynnwood, Wa 98036
photo: Zoom Language Center Facebook page
Zoom Language, an award-winning Spanish immersion language school, has been teaching students how to speak Spanish in a natural and effective way since 2004. From classes to camps, to preschool to high school and even online, Zoom helps students develop their Spanish skills by full on immersion. Classes range in age from 18 months up to 10 years, with the goal that eventually every kid will become truly bilingual. Students are inspired through fun activities like art, music, creative movement, drama, oral and written developmental activities and encouraged to learn at their own pace and in their own personal style which makes them feel safe and eager to learn.
Good to Know: Zoom offers a free trial class, so your little linguist can take a test run before committing to the program. Zoom also offers online classes for parents, so moms and dad can keep up with their little learners and summer camps to keep the Spanish flowing all summer long.
1116 N.W. 54th St.
Seattle, Wa 98107
photo: Poly-Glot Tots
If you want a polyglot tot (that’s someone who speaks three or more languages) of your own, look no further than Polly-Glot Tots. Founded in 2007, the aim of Polly-Glot Tots is to help children become global citizens and better learners by making them more aware of the world through foreign language education. The school offers classes for children in three age groups and the classroom is age and developmentally appropriate. Children learn languages through music, art and storytelling.
Good to Know: Polly-Glot Tots offers classes in Spanish, French and Mandarin at various locations throughout the Seattle area. Check their online schedule to see what class and location would work best for your little linguist.
photo: Petite France
Petite France Preschool
If your dreams consist of croissants and café au lait and a toddler who wakes up asking for petite déjeuner, then you might want to consider preschool at Petite France. This home-based preschool, located in Bellevue’s Clyde Hill, opened its doors in 2016 and is taught entirely in French. No berét required! Classes for little learners (ages 2-5) begin with yoga and snacks, then learning and playtime. Petite France is the bébé of Jessica Lalloz Meer, a polyglot herself. Jessica speaks three languages fluently and five altogether. And not only does Jessica teach French to little ones, she also holds events for families to celebrate special occasions.
Good to Know: This preschool program includes science, math, literacy, arts & crafts, cooking, music and movement and encourages parents to participate in classroom activities and get involved in special projects. View upcoming events online.
But Wait! There’s an App for That
If you can’t seem to get out the door to a class, then we have an app for that. Learning online can make learning a new language fun and entertaining for both you and your sidekick. Check out:
Little Pim offers streaming videos, books, music and more to make learning languages fun and easily accessible. These language lessons cater to kids from birth to age six. Check out Little Pim at littlepim.com. Prices vary.
Duolingo is an app that uses more of a game-based learning system where users have to go through short lessons learning vocabulary and grammar. Registration is required before you can play, but once you’ve entered your info you’ll be ready to start learning. Check out Duolinguo at duolinguo.com. The app is for iOS and Android devices and is free.
The original Gus on the Go app offers 30 different languages to choose from for just $3.99. Gus is an entertaining owl who leads children through stories in their language of choice with familiar characters. For those who are learning Spanish, a just released Stories by Gus on the Go app includes mini games as well as some fairy tales. Stories by Gus on the Go is free for iOS and Android devices. Find the Gus on the Go app at gusonthego.com.
Do you have a bi-lingual kiddo? What is your favorite language class? Tell us in the Comments below!
— Natalia Dotto