Creando Explorertorium opens Hilldale location
The Spanish immersion program offers playful childcare and learning on a drop-in and membership basis.
Creando Explorertorium, a holistic Spanish immersion program that promotes bilingualism, has found a second home in Madison at Hilldale Shopping Center. Creando already has an established pre-school and curated play space on Monroe Street, but the Hilldale location specifically offers drop-in care (so mom and dad can go on that date, get grocery shopping done or run a few errands). Founded by Karen Haygood back in 2013, Creando provides opportunities for English-speaking children ages 2 to 10 to participate in cooking, dancing, science and other hands-on activities while learning the Spanish language.
“One of our main goals is that we believe in nurturing the child’s curiosity, exploration, creativity, body and mind through our five senses learning approach,” Haygood says. “We’re going to nurture every kiddo and celebrate language, culture and diversity through our curriculum, to make sure that our kiddos are not only learning a new language, but exploring the world with their senses.”
Haygood and her staff are all qualified in bilingual education and childcare, and children learn Español while participating in activities like Zumba, crafts and baking cookies. The Creando program is best suited for younger children, as it is easier for them to learn both English and Spanish simultaneously.
“It’s not intimidating, [because] they’re learning while they’re playing,” says Haygood. “It’s not that they are sitting down in a classroom saying, ‘Now repeat after me,’ and read. They are being immersed, but they don’t even know that they’re learning a new language.”
Haygood’s own experience learning English as a second language in her hometown of Lima, Peru, was less than enjoyable, so she and her staff don’t hold back when it comes to having fun with Creando students.
“I went to a bilingual school, and the school that I went to … our methodology of learning English was very strict, and I really hated it,” she says. “That’s why we tried to make sure that our teachers are kind of hosting a party every day.”
All Creando locations have a designated free play area for students, so they can re-enter the structured group activities refreshed and ready to participate. Each month has a different theme for activities, and the youthful staff are experts on their toes.
“I’ve been in education for almost 15 years,” says Haygood. “And for me, the idea of celebrating language, culture and diversity is very important, so my goal is that kiddos are not only having fun and learning a new language, but also celebrating each other.”
“Our families have been very responsive to that message, and they very quickly continue to grow in that community.”
Creando’s Hilldale location opens Saturday, May 1 and will be selling discounted membership passes for those who want to try out the program. Visit creandolanguages.com to learn more about the program and how to enroll your child.
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