Learning center features language immersion preschool, Spanish lessons

La Casita Learning Center, which touts itself as “Cincinnati’s first Spanish immersion preschool and childcare center,” opened in August at 5641 Union Centre Drive.

The 3,000-square-foot business provides a full Spanish immersion childcare center and preschool for children 30 months to 5 years of age and half-day kindergarten, as well as Spanish lessons for ages 3 and up, including teens and adults.

About a third of the kids at La Casita come from homes where English is the only language spoken, another third come from homes where Spanish is the primary language, while the remaining third hear a mix of both languages in the home, according to center directors Beth Prince and Daniela Bianchi.

“If it’s a family that has a Spanish background, they just want to make sure that they don’t lose it and that they’re proud of it,” Bianchi said. “And not just the language part, but also the culture part of it. If it’s a family that has no Spanish background, it’s usually because they understand how important language is nowadays, how it opens doors to whatever you want to do.”

Opening those doors means opening a gateway to “endless opportunities,” Prince said.

“Language is a big piece of a child’s development and as we become a more global society, then it becomes more and more important for kids to be multilingual,” Prince said. “The best research will say the best time to teach that is at a really early age.”

The immersion process includes rotating from room to room to allow for play-based exposure to art and music, language arts, mathematics and science.

The center’s curriculum also fosters social and emotional development, cognition, general knowledge and approaches to learning.

Prince, who owns La Casita along with husband Enrique Trabanino, said the center features easy access to physical well being and motor development via their other business next door: Perfection Gymnastics School.

“Every day of the year, the kids will always have large motor activity … and they have free gymnastics and dance class taught to them in Spanish that’s built into their tuition,” she said.

In case of inclement weather, La Casita kids can spend their recess in a special play area inside of Perfection Gymnastics, Prince said.

Courtney Hamilton of Liberty Twp. said

she and her husband are not bilingual but felt that enrolling 4-year-old son Charlie in La Casita would help with his overall language skills.

“I’m a nurse and my husband works at Xavier University, so we understand that the way things are going, people should have an understanding of multiple languages,” she said. “I kind of felt like starting early would help him in his life to be able to at least understand multiple languages.

“I just want him to have the best that he can have at this time.”

For more information, call 513-889-3939 or visit www.lacasitalearningcenter.com.

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