My Edmonds News had an opportunity recently to visit the new language immersion preschool, EuropaKids, in Edmonds, where a group of youngsters was gathering for a morning of play and instruction.
EuropaKids co-founder and executive director Colin Wiggins was in the middle of it all, greeting parents in English and speaking to children in Spanish.
Wiggins and his wife Nicole Chaudry originally founded EuropaKids International Preschool in West Seattle, where they now have three locations. They opened the Edmonds location March 21 on the site of a former daycare at 22009 76th Ave. W., near Stevens Hospital. The full-day program, which uses an international kindergarten preparation curriculum, is currently licensed for 19 children ages 2-6.
Chaudry, who holds a degree in early childhood education, is a German native who is fluent in English. Wiggins is a native English speaker who has multiple university degrees in International Studies, German, Spanish, French and Japanese languages. Not surprisingly, the couple’s preschool-age son also attends EuropaKids and is on his way to becoming trilingual.
For those who aren’t familiar with immersion education, the first question is often, why start your preschooler so early learning another language? As Wiggins explained, these youngsters pick it up easily, and the immersion teaching method is particularly effective, with lessons from adults — including math, art and other activities — conducted in Spanish. (Mandarin instruction will be offered soon as well.) As a result, youngsters can be not just bilingual but even trilingual before they leave their preschool years.
Edmonds parent Angie Bryant, owner of business consulting firm Ternion Results, said she enrolled her 3-year-old son, Sam Bryant-Nichols, in EuropaKids for many reasons, including the ease with which children learn a language and the role that language fluency plays in connecting to the rest of the world.
“Our world keeps getting smaller and smaller by the minute and we are becoming global citizens,” Bryant said. “Since anything is possible via communication, we need as many modalities as possible to do that. We also have a fundamental need for connectedness. Sharing common languages fulfills both of these needs.”
For more information about EuropaKids, visit their website or call 206-708-5784.