With the advent of the Internet and social media, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. The ability to speak multiple languages is a growing asset, but cutbacks in school funding often result in a decrease or elimination of language classes from the curriculum. Extracurricular activities can be less structured than school courses, allowing kids to learn a foreign language while their minds are most open to it.
Annhua Chinese School
4090 Geddes Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
For nearly two decades, the Annhua Chinese School has been teaching Chinese language and culture to students from both Chinese and non-Chinese origins. Chinese-as-a-second-language classes are offered on a weekly basis. The classes are divided by age group, from kindergartners to first graders and teens to adults. Parents and students must sign a code of conduct and responsibility document which requires students to respect teachers and follow school rules and parents to maintain involvement with their children and the school.
30428 Milford Road, Suite 272
New Hudson, MI 48165
The staff at Bilingual Fun are dedicated to teaching Spanish to children in a fun, interactive setting. From week-long camps to weekly classes, Bilingual Fun utilizes music, games, stories and other activities to tap into a child’s natural ability to learn a new language. Both kids-only and parent/child classes are offered; a DVD is also available for at-home learning. Classes are targeted toward specific age groups: preschool, kindergarten, 10 and under and advanced classes for elementary-school children whom have had prior Spanish education.
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French Institute of Michigan
7100 Lindenmere Drive
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301
The French Institute provides immersion-based French language instruction to kids ages 5 through 12. Classes are based on the national Alliance Francaise’s Smart Steps to French program which allows students to advance from the beginner state within their age group, rather than limiting learning with a rigid curriculum. Students are grouped by age and taught by native French speakers with an emphasis on making learning both fun and educational.
Sign Language Services of Michigan
22324 Harper Ave
St. Clair Shores, MI 48080
While the primary service of Sign Language Services is to provided certified interpreters, the company also offers community education in American Sign Language. Children’s programs are offered to kids of all abilities, and private tutoring is also available. Classes consist of workshops, a six-week ASL course and a play group for parents and infants. Family classes are available on an individual, as-needed basis.
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Yak Academy Learning Center
620 N Old Woodward Ave, Suite 101
Birmingham, MI 48009
The Yak Academy offers instruction in a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian and Mandarin. Classes are divided by age and developed to maximize the child’s learning ability at that particular age. Young toddlers are taught with song and movement, for example, while 9 and 10 year olds are given tasks and projects to take advantage of their competitive nature at that age. Other programs include total-immersion preschool, week-long camps and a parents’ night out evening where kids are exposed to multiple languages through activities, games and arts and crafts.