Playing word games in Vail |

Playing word games in Vail

Lauren Glendenninglglendenning@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Lauren Glendenning/Vail DailySebastian Melgarejo, co-director of H&M Spanish Programs, teaches Spanish to Red Sandstone Elementary after-school students during a game of bingo in Vail, Colorado. The games help the students have fun and retain what they learn, according to H&M.

VAIL, Colorado Anneli Holm is 8-years-old and shes already trying to learn a second language in Vail, Colorado so she can speak to people when she travels.Anneli is a third-grader at Red Sandstone Elementary School in Vail. She sticks around after school for a Spanish immersion program taught by H&M Spanish Programs, of Edwards. The children who signed up for the after-school program want to get a head start on learning Spanish. Some of them did it because their parents said they should, and others did it because they just thought it would be fun.The way H&M Spanish Programs teaches the children is all about fun they use props, play games and tell stories. The kids all interact together and after just eight classes their Spanish is improving.Jeff Hayslip and Sebastian Melgarejo, directors of H&M, teach the classes using a lot of repetition and communication to get the kids to remember what theyre learning, Hayslip said. They also use props like clothing items and bingo boards to get the young students excited and focused. In one game, the kids do a relay race where Hayslip shows them a note card with an article of clothing written on it in Spanish. The kids then run and find that clothing item in a garbage bag and run back and put it on. While it may look like somewhat organized chaos, the children are really paying attention and learning the words for what theyre doing. We try to take the typical classroom environment out of the program, Hayslip said. If theyre having a good time, theyre going to learn as well.In a valley where language learning is more focused on Spanish-speakers learning English, Hayslip said he hopes to expand the program into more schools for English-speaking students. The after-school program is at Red Sandstone for now, and he also offers two summer camps in July and August at St. Claire of Assisi in Edwards. A weekly adult workshop at the Bookworm in Edwards starts April 13. Theres definitely a need for it and a demand, he said. Theres a huge need for people to learn Spanish.The Red Sandstone students were about as beginner as it gets, Hayslip said. None of them have ever had Spanish classes or lessons before, so theyre starting out with the basics.Harley Ralston, a second-grader, said shes already learned how to say a lot of body parts and clothing items in Spanish. Shes in the class because her mom told her it would help her later in life, she said. Katie Kirwood, 8, just likes all the excitement that comes with the program. You get to run around and scream, and in class all you do is sit down and write, she said. Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

H&M Spanish Programs is teaching a 10-student adult workshop beginning April 13. The eight-week workshop requires students to participate in storytelling, communicative game playing and literature. Weekly literature and language assignments will be recommended during the course of the program.Location: The Bookworm in EdwardsDates: April 13, 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18, 25; and June 1Time: 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.Cost: $185 per student (a level 1 novel is included)Contact H&M at 970-333-8642, or to sign up

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