FAIRFIELD — K.I. Jones Elementary School fifth-grader Zenab Eid already knows three languages – Arabic, English and now French. The last she learned through Solano Community College’s Cross Age Teaching Program.
The partnership between the college and Fairfield-Suisun School District pairs college students and elementary children from K.I. Jones, B. Gale Wilson and Suisun Valley elementary schools. The college students get some hands-on teaching experience. The children have the opportunity to learn Spanish, French or German.
More than 400 children, including Zenab, represented the schools Monday night in a performance at the K.I. Jones multipurpose room. Her younger brother David Eid, a fourth-grader at the school, sang in Spanish.
“I wanted them to know more than one language,” said their mother, Amira Eid. “It’s good for them.”
The children sang songs such as “Vive le Vent,” the French version of “Jingle Bells,” “Bruder Jakob,” the German version of “Brother John” and “Mi Burro,” a Spanish chlldren’s song about an ill donkey.
The Cross Age Teaching Program participants, under the direction of Solano College French instructor Lorna Marlow-Munoz, seemed to have as much fun as their charges.
The lessons focused on the basic, such as numbers and days of the week. Singing and games were also included.
“The children are very enthusiastic,” said Miquella Simmons, 20, one of 14 Cross Age Teaching Program instructors. “They’re like sponges.” She teaches French.
Karl Pau, whose native language is Tagalog, also teaches French. He loves to see the passion the children have for another language and particularly the song, “Lundi Matin,” which means Monday morning. Three of them got to wear crowns while singing it Monday night.
Marlow-Munoz brought the Cross Age Teaching Program to the college 14 years ago. Budget cuts and small student groups have kept the program off the curriculum some years, she said.
Many of the elementary school participants had never thought about taking a foreign language prior to their participation in the program, Marlow-Munoz said.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Solano College student Catherine Flitcroft, who teaches Spanish. “There’s a lot of preparation involved. It really makes me appreciate what the teachers do.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.