Church teaches love in several languages

Oklahoma Conference…

As you walk upstairs into The Treehouse children’s ministry area at Nichols Hills United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City on Wednesday afternoons, you hear children at play. Preschoolers are singing, dancing, coloring, and chattering away, as expected.

However, the children and teachers are not speaking English, which may surprise you.

Although English is their first language, these children are working on their Spanish skills. They are enrolled in the Language Academy, launched this fall at Nichols Hills UMC.

Teachers Elena Collins and Sandra Flores lead the Explorer Spanish class as they warm up with singing and dancing, at Nichols Hills United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. PHOTO COURTESY NICHOLS HILLS UMC

The academy is a full-immersion after-school program for children ages 3 to 12.

These youngsters are getting an early start on their language education—and enjoying every minute of it. They participate in a highly interactive classroom infused with music, games, art and imaginative activities.

The design helps them achieve language goals, often without realizing that is what they are doing.

Parents Dionna and Fred Bierbaum enrolled their preschoolers in the Language Academy because they recognized children’s tremendous ability from an early age to acquire and maintain a second language. The Bierbaums love that the program promotes learning through an immersion experience, where language fluency is emphasized rather than simply learning key vocabulary.

“Walt loves the class and his teacher—numbers and songs are his favorite to recite—and he loves practicing outside of class with our Spanish-speaking friends,” says Dionna Bierbaum of her 3-year-old son. “For us, it has added a depth to his education which we value very much.”

The Language Academy began as a shared vision from a group of concerned members and educators of the church. The vision for the Academy is to inspire creativity and develop young people’s interest in learning new things through the innovative teaching of languages.

Melissa Nelms, director of Christian Education and Language Academies, believes fluency in a second language will open a world of opportunities for the students.

“We hope to develop skills that will mold culturally conscious individuals who can be successful leaders in the local community and the broader global community as well,” she said.

The church is excitedly preparing to offer additional classes in French and adult Spanish in the spring.

Also in spring, the Language Academy will expand to school-aged children across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Thanks to generous donations by church members, any child, regardless of financial status, can participate in this program. Scholarships are available, and some already have been awarded.

For more information about the Language Academy, email Ms. Nelms at melissa.nelms1@gmail.com or call the church at (405) 842-1486.

This story first appeared in the Oklahoma United Methodist Contact.

Special Contributor to UMR

Special Contributor

This story was written by a special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter. You may send your article submissions to
kevin@circuitwritermedia.com
.

Sorry, but there are no comments yet.

Your thoughts?

applications-education-miscellaneous.png
The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 

*

Google+
%d bloggers like this: