Exposing Children To A Bicultural World At An Early Age

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Our vision at Rayito de Sol is to be a leading multicultural educational institution that supports children’s education by teaching values that prioritize a positive coexistence between all cultures through the process of Spanish language and Latin American culture immersion and instruction; thereby enriching the life experiences of the children in our community who will then have the tools to be influential citizens and stewards of these values allowing them to excel in our developing global society.

As a Spanish Immersion NAEYC accredited center, incorporating culture in our classroom is a necessity. Throughout our locations in Minnesota and now our new location opening soon in Chicago, we are keeping culture at the forefront. Culture will always be consistent throughout the classroom and the entire center. The lobby area will feature a mural taken right out of the vibrant streets of Colombia, incorporating bright colors as children are exposed throughout the day to the latino culture and language aligned with a comprehensive STEAM curriculum.

“As the world becomes more globally conscious, an important job of educators is to help children and youth acquire knowledge about cultural differences so that they will be able to work together and solve future problems together. Cultural competence is a critical set of skills that teachers, as well as out-of-school staff, need to help all children reach their full potentials.

Dr. Patreese Ingram, Penn State University, explains how culturally competent youth development professionals play a key role in helping youth grow and develop. “The research says that a positive self-esteem and emotional well-being provides a strong foundation for developing one’s cognitive abilities. So a healthy sense of self requires that the children know who they are—and like who they are—without feeling superior to other children. Youth development professionals really play a big role in helping youth develop that self-esteem and self identity.”

By making learning about culture a regular part of in-school and out-of-school programs, teachers and staff members can increase global awareness while they reduce intolerance. Culture-study can become part of the everyday life in the classroom or out-of-school program. It can be considered part of the curriculum, or it can become part of the basic guidelines of the program, as basic as behavior management and how children practice mutual respect and understanding. The most important piece of starting a culture-study is having instructors who are culturally competent.” - PennState Extenstion

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Learn more about Rayito de Sol’s program and how we incorporate culture into our curriculum by touring our center today!

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References
United States Census Bureau. Revised 2015. “2014 Highlights.” US Census Bureau, Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division. https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview
Davis, Bonnie M. 2012. How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You: Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies.Corwin Press.  

Incorporating Spanish Into Music Activities

Music is all around us every day! We hear it on the radio in the car, on the television at home, out on the street, and while out doing activities with family and friends! At Rayito de Sol, we incorporate music into activities every day to help our children learn Spanish in a fun and easy way!

Children can learn to sing before they speak

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Even before children start talking proper sentences, most will be able to sing a song or part of it. Our brains seem to remember language easier when the words are used with music.

Before each of my children even could speak sentences, they could sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in English word for word because it was one of the songs I sang to them before bed every night.

Lyrics teach all types of vocabulary

Different songs can be used to teach your child specific vocabulary. When teaching English to children I always started a class with a good round of singing:

  • The alphabet can be taught by singing the “ABC’s”

  • Parts of the body can be taught by singing “The Hokey Pokey”

  • Farm animals can be taught by singing “Old McDonald had a Farm”

  • Numbers can be taught by singing “5 Little Monkeys”

Most of the songs translate into many languages so by playing them and singing to your child they can easily pick them up. For bilingual or multilingual children who know the song in one language, it will be easier for them to understand the meaning of the song when they hear it in another.

Rhyming helps to learn similar words and prepare for reading

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Most children’s songs are simple and have rhyming words which are easy for kids to remember. Learning to rhyme is an important skill to have when starting to read in any language. We like to sometimes make up our own songs using words that rhyme.

Using movement helps to enforce the meaning

Songs that include movement such as “If your happy and you know it” and “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes”, reinforce the lyrics of the song. By pointing at things you are saying, or performing the actions that are sang, children will learn to associate the words they are saying to the movements they are making.

Children don’t realise they are learning

Even when children don’t know the words to the songs, music can play such an important role in the learning process as they don’t actually realise they are learning. When I put music on at home, my kids immediately start to dance and try to sing along. Posted by Chontelle Bonfiglio - Bilingualkidspot on October 3, 2016


Find out more on Rayito de Sol’s Spanish Immersion Program by scheduling a tour today!

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The Benefits of Speaking Spanish to Children During Infancy

At Rayito de Sol, we embrace bilingual education. From our classroom curriculum to physical activities, we are always incorporating Spanish into the lives of our students. There are many benefits to exposing children and babies to a second language. During infancy, the child’s brain is a learning machine. What better time than now to expose them to a second language and give the the excellent benefits of language immersion!

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“Children who become bilingual learn how to prioritize information, as their brains have to figure out how to handle two sets of words for everything. All that mental juggling, as one speaker called it, appears to be a good thing for the brain.

But what intrigued me most was research presented by Janet Werker, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. She studies babies who grow up in bilingual households and has found that these babies demonstrate certain language abilities at birth that babies exposed to just one language don’t. For example, a newborn from a monolingual household will show a preference for listening to its native language only. But a baby born into a bilingual home shows equal interest in both languages it has been exposed to in the womb.

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In Werker’s experiments, all babies, monolingual and bilingual, can discriminate between speakers of different language classes at four and six months old, but the monolingual infants lost this ability by eight months of age. The bilingual babies, however, are even more special. In one experiment, Werker exposed eight-month-old babies who grew up in households speaking Spanish, Catalan, or Spanish and Catalan (i.e., bilingual) to videos of women speaking English or French. The bilingual babies, but not the monolingual ones, were able to tell the difference between the two unfamiliar languages.” Sarah Zielinski - Smithsonian

Find out more on Rayito de Sol’s Spanish Immersion Program by scheduling a tour at our location in Minneapolis or Richfield today! Our new Chicago location will be opening soon. 

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Outside Play & Parks To Incorporate Spanish

The Twin Cities are full of great parks! Parks give us a great opportunity to get out in nature and spend time with our family and friends. Children can play on playgrounds, swim in outdoor pools, play sports, dance, listen to music, discover art, and much more! In 2017, Minneapolis ranked for the fifth time as the No. 1 in the Trust for Public Land ranking of the 100 large city park systems.

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“The Twin Cities did well overall at a time when many large cities face maintenance backlogs and operations problems, said Charlie McCabe, director of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit that works with public and nonprofit agencies to protect parklands. It’s community support that really helps thrive and make city parks systems really great, especially in Minneapolis and St. Paul,” McCabe said. “It can’t exist without public support.” - Faiza Mahamud Star Tribune

Rayito de Sol is thankful we live in a community with so much support that gives us the opportunity to enjoy parks every day. We love to practice our Spanish any time we can. Parks give us a great opportunity with so much to see, smell, and feel!

Here are some of our favorite park words...

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  • bench = banco
  • tree = árbol
  • bicycle = bicicleta
  • monkey bars = Pasamanos
  • swimming pool = piscina
  • baseball field = campo de béisbol
  • playground = patio de recreo
  • sidewalk = acera
  • bridge = puente

 

Practice these words on your next park trip to continue incorporating the Spanish language into your daily life. We can’t wait to hear your child speak these words on their next trip to Rayito!

Opening Soon In Chicago!

Chicago, IL: Rayito de Sol announces the 2018 opening of its newest location in Chicago, IL.
At Rayito de Sol Spanish Immersion Early Learning Center, children have access to cultural awareness, diversity, inclusion, and multiple language acquisition at the earliest stages of learning, preparing them for a future that is boundless, global, and ever-evolving.

We aim to prepare students to excel as young leaders of tomorrow by combining an exclusive
curriculum elevated with first-class childcare services and Spanish language immersion.

☼ We offer a unique alternative for parents and participants to integrate their childcare with bilingual language immersion in a licensed and accredited program.

☼ We offer award-winning child care services for children ages six weeks to five years old, the critical stages of life in which language acquisition most readily develops.

☼ We provide our participants with the opportunity to acquire the Spanish language through an
immersion process amongst non-Spanish speaking communities.

☼ Our curriculum is grounded in both language and culture to enhance social awareness and cultural diversity in all communities we are able to impact.

☼ We are setting the bar by introducing our bilingual learning centers for young children to meet the educational needs of current and future generations. “I am a firm believer, not only in education and development, but in family, culture, relationships, and supporting individuals throughout their life’s journey. Together we achieve and along the way prepare new generations to live in the most comprehensive, tolerant, and borderless world where the future is more promising” said Luisa Fuentes, founder of Rayito de Sol.

Luisa Fuentes is a native Peruvian with degrees in journalism and early childhood education from
Garcilaso de la Vega University, coupled with 17 years of teaching experience with children under the age of six. In 2003, Luisa created Rayito de Sol with a vision that was focused on growth and
development to provide children with a unique and holistic learning environment that integrates
childcare and education with culture and language. Rayito de Sol is now an experienced educational institution with over 15 years of service provided to communities and families in Minnesota.

Rayito de Sol will be the first of its kind in the city of Chicago. We will offer programs and services with a structured business model in a premier childcare facility that integrates diversity, inclusion, and language immersion.

Our History

Luisa Fuentes emigrated from Lima Peru to Minnesota over 17 years ago. Luisa knew that to be successful it was imperative for her to begin the immersion process in her new community by first learning the language and then concurrently learning the culture and all aspects of what it means to be a “Minnesotan”. With degrees in journalism and early childhood education from Garcilaso de la Vega University, coupled with 17 years of teaching experience with children under the age of six, she knew the importance of education - regardless of your culture or where you come from.

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In 2003, Luisa founded Rayito de Sol Spanish Immersion Early Learning Centers. Her objective was not only to offer families affordable child care, but to also offer a learning environment that shares the wonders of the Spanish language and Latin America cultures; thereby providing children with a multicultural education.

With her zest for her Peruvian heritage, her love for her “Rayito Children and Families” and her keen business sense, she was able to grow her program and its ever-expanding offerings. Rayito de Sol provides its participants the opportunity to learn Spanish through the immersion process, as well as showing the young learners how other cultures exist and how embracing diversity makes our communities stronger, more intriguing, and allows for a greater sense of community.

Luisa Fuentes’ vision for the future remains focused on growth and development of the Rayito de Sol program and brand. Her goal is to expand across the United States and offer all families the opportunity to provide their children with a unique and holistic learning environment that integrates childcare and education with culture and language. Rayito de Sol is excited to announce...

We are coming to Chicago!

Rayito de Sol Spanish Immersion Early Learning Center aims to prepare students to excel as young leaders of tomorrow by combining an exclusive curriculum elevated with first-class child care services and Spanish Language immersion.

☼ Rayito de Sol offers a unique alternative for parents and participants to integrate their childcare with bilingual language immersion in a licensed and accredited program.

☼ Rayito de Sol offers award-winning child care services for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old, the critical stages of life in which language acquisition most readily develops.

☼ Rayito de Sol provides its participants the opportunity to acquire the Spanish language through an immersion process.

☼ Our curriculum is grounded in both language and culture to enhance social awareness and cultural diversity in all communities we are able to impact.

☼ Rayito de Sol is setting the bar higher in Chicago by introducing our bilingual learning centers for young children to meet the educational needs of current and future generations.

Rayito de Sol will be the first of its kind in the City of Chicago, offering programs and services with a structured business model in premier childcare facilities that integrate diversity, inclusion, and language immersion.

Sign up for our Chicago email list to stay up to date on our opening!


 

Garden & Crafts to Incorporate Spanish

 

Gardening With Your Child

April showers bring May flowers! With the longevity of winter and the recent snow, we are so excited to plant our Spring gardens! Vegetables and flowers are so easy to plant and watching them grow is exciting and rewarding.

Benefits Of Gardening With Your Child

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“One study showed that children who participated in gardening projects scored higher in science achievement than those who did not. The wonder of seeing a garden grow may spark your kids to ask questions like: Why do the plants need sun? How does the plant “drink” water? Why are worms good for the plants? Add a little math while gardening by measuring how much plants are growing from week to week or counting the flowers on each plant. Supplement the experience of gardening with books about plants, trips to a botanical garden, or a photo journal of the plants that you are growing.” Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH and Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

Incorporating Spanish Into Gardening

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Planting can be a great time to bond with your child and practice your Spanish as well. A few great ideas for projects while gardening are to create photo cards with the English and Spanish version of a plant or flower and quiz your child on what they are learning while gardening, count how many seeds you are planting in Spanish to practice math, or call out colors or animals you see in your garden!

Share Your Garden

We love seeing Rayito de Sol family gardens. Please share them on our Facebook or Instagram page. Our staff would love to see the new gardens our children are planting.

The Benefits of Summer Swim Camp

Rayito de Sol offers Summer Camp for Infants through Kinder-prep and School age, during the summer months in June, July, and August.

Your child will attend our camp Monday through Friday from 6:30am – 5:30pm. Each month we will focus on a specific Latin culture not covered during our regular months, in an effort to continue to expand your child’s knowledge and understanding.

Benefits of Summer Camp

In-Depth Latin Immersion

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It is important to focus on new Latin cultures to continue your child’s education and immersion into Latin studies. The three Latin cultures that we will focus on are, the Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs. We will focus on learning more about these Latin cultures through art projects, dancing, music, folklore, and other fun surprise projects and activities.

Structured Learning

Let’s break the routine! Whether your child currently attends our learning center or if you’re looking for something new for the summer, your child will have a huge advantage attending our Summer Camp in a structured learning environment. We have activities and learning experiences different from the ones they do the during the school year and this helps them to challenge routines through learning at Rayito de Sol. Every day is planned to keep your child interested and engaged, giving priority to the three largest cultures of our American continent.

Prevent the “Summer Slide”

Summer is a time to have fun! We want to make sure your child is continuing to learn and practice the many skills they may learned from the previous year as well as prepare them for the upcoming year. By enrolling your child in our Summer Camp they never have to take a break from immersive learning! Your child will have the following opportunities:

1. Access: Access by which children are given the opportunity to experience cultural and artistic life and to acquire knowledge about a wide spectrum of different forms of expression.

2. Participation: Participation requires that children be offered concrete opportunities, individually or collectively, to express themselves freely, communicate, act and participate in creative activities, with a view to achieving the full development of their personalities.

3. Contribution: The contribution to cultural life including spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional expressions of culture and the arts, thus promoting the development and transformation of society.

In our summer camp, children will learn to be more tolerant and to coexist with people who are not from their environment. They will make new friends, share rooms, games, activities and participate in making some decisions. Your child will have the opportunity to learn to live in cooperation, socialize and integrate, improve communication, express oneself, to develop spiritually and personally, experience freedom and to create and participate.

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Other Activities We Will Have Along the Way!

Monday’s are special dress up days. Children can choose to dress in the color of the day - like Rosado (Pink) or to be comfortable and wear pajamas! We will be learning more through themed art projects and classroom activities. We have plenty of indoor and outdoor activities (weather permitting) for your child to enjoy and be a part of every day. Being active is important to include in your child’s daily routine! Not only do they learn the importance of exercise, they build stronger friendships and release their energy along the way. We have indoor and outdoor activities such as, sprinkler day, bike day, yoga, zumba and plenty of fun surprise activities! We also incoroporate dance! Dancing is a very powerful instrument to develop cultural pride and respect for different cultures. In the same way, when they learn traditional dances from other cultures, children learn to respect those cultures and expand their knowledge about the world.

Our Summer Show

At the end of Summer Camp we want your child to have the opportunity to show off what they have learned for their family and friends. Our Summer show is held the Saturday before the last week and showcases the songs, dances and folklore we have learned all summer long. Would you like to learn more? Schedule a Tour today!

Appreciating Diversity

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Although children are not born with prejudice, by early childhood they have already acquired stereotypes or negative attitudes toward those that they perceive as “others.” An article in The Buffalo News reports that about 85 percent of the brain develops between ages 3 and 5, and that impressions and ideas formed between ages 2 and 4 are lasting (Lessons in Respect, 2003). Researchers tracking the development of racial attitudes in children found that almost half of the 200 children they studied had racial biases by age six (Parents Magazine, 2001).

This study illustrates that the foundations for hatred are formed at a very early age and that diversity and anti-bias training are critical when children are young. Children can distinguish different skin colors, hair textures, and facial features from as early as six months of age. At this age, they begin to understand they are a separate person and begin to see the differences and separateness of others. As children develop from infants to toddlers, around eighteen months of age, they begin to recognize their own features and if given a choice, will often choose the doll of their own color (Stern-LaRosa; Hofheimer Bettmann, 2000, 18–19).

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In early childhood settings, name-calling and acts of social exclusion are the most common examples of discriminatory behavior and prejudicial thinking. Predispositions acquired at early developmental levels can often lay the foundation for these manifestations of prejudice, which left unexamined, have the potential to escalate into violent acts of hate as children grow older (Derman-Sparks, 1989; Katz, 1982).

At Rayito de Sol, we embrace diversity. We incorporate diversity into our curriculum to expose children to different cultures and walks of life at an early age!

What Sets Rayito de Sol apart from the rest?

Rayito de Sol is a unique learning environment that integrates childcare and education in a language immersion environment. From day one, your child is warmly welcomed into the care of our teachers.

“She loves going to school every day, and the teachers are clearly genuinely invested in the well-being and development of each child in their care.”

We provide learning experiences through discovery, exploration, and hands-on activities that are fun and memorable. We encourage the fusion of play and learning in our classrooms for a stimulating and proactive environment for your child.

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We provide an environment that encourages respect and appreciation for cultural diversity and inclusion. Incorporating the Spanish language immersion through cultural awareness where children learn and perform folklore, music, and dancing from the 21 countries that speak Spanish as a official language in the world.

“My kids are now prepared with language skills that will provide opportunities throughout their lifetime and they are exposed to Latino culture.”

We strive to form and maintain a cooperative partnership with families in order to work together to meet each child’s specific educational, social, and emotional needs. We want your family to feel as it is a part of our family.

“We love the teachers. They are passionate, loving, intelligent, gentle, and care deeply about their kids. Every month they explore different values, like respect, compassion etc.”

“I am a firm believer, not only in education and development, but in family, culture, relationships, and supporting individuals throughout their life’s journey…” - Luisa Fuentes

“My daughter attended preschool there as well and is now finishing Kindergarten in a Chinese Immersion School where she has thrived. Rayito taught her to love learning about languages and cultures. She has wholeheartedly embraced bilingual education...”

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Rayito de Sol believes a child care environment should be rich in opportunities and cultural diversity for cognitive development and an appreciation for the world as a whole. Schedule a tour and meet our teachers!