"She is a true immersionist." --Megan R., former colleague
As an immersion educator, I was a fulltime classroom teacher in an elementary school Spanish Immersion program for 15 years. It was my dream job and what I had been working towards since I was a little girl! I eventually came to realize, though, that I was being led in a different direction. I felt the desire to pull my son from his Spanish Immersion program and homeschool him immersion-style, an experience I have so enjoyed! I also wanted to provide Spanish Immersion instruction to students outside the confines of a brick-and-mortar school. And I wanted to provide that instruction the way I believed it should be done based on my years of experience. This is what led me to create Estrellas Language Academy, LLC.
I have my B.A. in Spanish from Elon University and my Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Elementary Education from the University of Virginia.
I am a certified teacher through the state of Michigan's Department of Education.
I am a certified Group Fitness Instructor and Youth Fitness Specialist through ACE.
I want my students to be a light in the world. What an advantage bilingualism will afford them! That is why I chose the name Estrellas (Stars). I have also always loved the night sky!
I want my students to exit the program with age-appropriate levels of bilingualism and biliteracy.
I want my students to speak with accurate grammar.
I want my students to enjoy all the brain benefits an immersion education provides.
I want my students to have the opportunity to make new friends, which is something many homeschool parents and parents of young children desire.
I want my students to live physically-fit lives and for parents to model the importance of a physically-fit lifestyle. (I love it when kids and their parents take my exercise classes together!)
I want my students to have fun and to love learning!
Benefits of an Immersion Education and Early Second Language Exposure
Immersion students show greater cognitive flexibility, better problem solving skills, more creativity, and stronger higher-order thinking skills.
Enhances cognitive development.
Promotes higher overall academic success. People who are competent in more than one language consistently outscore monolinguals on tests of verbal and nonverbal intelligence.
Research has shown that humans are born with the ability to distinguish all the possible sounds of all the world’s languages. Changes in your baby’s perceptual abilities occur toward the second half of his first year of life as he starts to grow attuned to the sounds of the language(s) in his surroundings and loses the ability to distinguish other, foreign sounds. If you are unable to hear the different sounds of a language, you will have a very hard time producing those sounds.
The human brain has billions of neurons that can be connected in countless ways. The neural connections established in infancy and early childhood lay the foundation for future learning. Once these connections are established, only hard work can rewire them, and rewiring may not be entirely effective. And if these neurons are not utilized, the brain will get rid of them. Exposure to a second language is a great way of encouraging the use of and development of these neurons and thus encouraging brain development.
Immersion students have better listening skills and can maintain attention despite outside stimuli better than children who know only one language.
Takes advantage of the critical period of language learning.
Linguistic awareness (an aural awareness of the different languages being spoken) has been found to correlate highly with academic success, particularly with reading and writing. Bilinguals tend to learn to read faster than monolinguals. Reading depends upon knowing the structure of language and also recognizing that language is actually a set of arbitrary labels or symbols. Bilinguals know that two symbols exist for every word. Written languages are just a third set of symbols. Bilinguals have already grasped the notion of arbitrary labels, and they transfer this idea quickly to writing.
Those who are bilingual have sharper memories than their monolingual peers and are at lower risk for dementia later in life.
Leads to a more native-like accent.