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    I took over nine years of Spanish while attending public school and I can safely say that I remember very little. Aside from knowing some random vocabulary and a few dirty words, my Spanish is limited to asking where the bathroom is and singing "La Cucharacha".  


    As mentioned in previous columns, Jack and I are leaving on Monday for a week long trip to Ecuador.  Before our travels, I really wanted to brush up on the Spanish I do remember, and perhaps learn some handy phrases that will help get me around a country where most people don't speak English.


    I called Los Monitos Learning Center on Frankfort Avenue to see what they could teach me in a very short time.  This morning, I had the pleasure of sitting down with president, Bill Heinz and Senior Instructor, Sara Silva who answered some of my questions about the services Los Monitos provides.  


    Los Monitos offers instruction to all ages and abilities and center their teaching philosophy on active, conversational language acquisition.  Students are not bogged down with the textbooks and the rigidity of grammar worksheets that I remember from my own language education.  Instead, teachers focus their classes on actual conversation.  Thus, languages comes to life through the means of communication and cultural exchange. 


     The language school provides group and individual classes for both adults and children for a variety of languages including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic and Russian.  And with language instructors from around the world, Los Monitos can custom-tailor your language program.  For instance, since I am going to Ecuador, they are putting me in touch with a teacher who is from Ecuador to help teach me Spanish.  Whether a student has a group class, or is taught one-on-one, Los Monitos really cares about customizing everyone's language learning experience to best suit their own specific needs.


    Another cool program Los Monitos will offer this summer is language camps for children ages 3-10.  Camps will be offered in multiple languages and are designed to be a fun way for kids to be introduced to a brand new language, or improve existing foreign language skills.  Their camps will combine language with cooking, music, drama and nature as a fun, yet effective way to teach languages to children.  I just wish I was young enough to still go to camp!  


    Even though my Spanish lesson was brief, I can safely say that I learned a lot of phrases that will help me in Ecuador.  Indeed, my 6 hour plane ride will go a lot more smoothly now that I can talk to other passengers around me.  I was so impressed by Los Monitos, that I signed myself up for another lesson before my trip!    


    Los Monitos has two locations: one at the corner of Frankfort Avenue and Grinstead, and a new facility out in Prospect.  If you'd like more information, or to register for classes, go to or give them a call at 893-0399.  


    You might also enjoy: How to make flying with kids a little less terrible


    Photo: courtesy of Los Monitos

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