At the private elementary school they attend, Aleja and Joaquin have English class. And at their age, they have even more potential to capture a new language and speak it correctly. That's why their parents brought me to speak with them three days per week.
Aleja and Joaquin are excited to learn a new language. They know most of the colors. They can count. They can say a few specific words. Sometimes they even shout out the right answer when they know it!
But the most interesting part of our session yesterday was when Aleja's curiosity got the best of her, and she asked me in Spanish:
Aleja: Miss, when did you learn to speak English?
Me: Ever since I was a baby, I've spoken English. Actually, I didn't learn Spanish until recently.
Aleja looked surprised and confused. This was obviously disrupting her world view.
Aleja: You didn't speak Spanish? But how did you talk to your parents?
Me: My parents speak English too. And so does my brother. Where I am from, everyone speaks English.
She thought about it again, and after a few minutes of reading with Joaquin, she interrupted:
Aleja: Do they kick you out if you speak Spanish?
I laughed, and realized she had really thought this through.
Me: Oh no, Aleja. They don't throw you out if you speak Spanish. You can speak Spanish there. It's just that most people won't understand you.
I'll be interested to see what she asks me on Wednesday, after thinking it through for a few days. Learning about someone from another culture, another country, with another language. These kids are in for a treat.